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:
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.
The 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 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; this transition will boost your damage exponentially.
Pros & Cons
+ Hardcore viable
+ Budget friendly early on
+ Great clear speed while also maintaining respectable single target damage
- Playing a low-life totem build requires good positioning and different playstyle compared to other builds
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 to move around quickly and keep up the Arcane Surge buff. Rallying Cry provides additional damage and mana regeneration.
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.
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||Presence of Chayula|
|Belt||Rare Stygian Vise|
|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.
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 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 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, 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.
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.
By level 18, your Storm Brand link should look like this.
- Storm Brand
- Onslaught Support
- Controlled Destruction Support
- Concentrated Effect Support
- Added Lightning Damage Support
- Elemental Focus Support
- Shockwave Totem
- Controlled Destruction Support
- Increased Critical Strikes Support
- Physical to Lightning Support
- Faster Casting Support
- Concentrated Effect Support
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, 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.
The Shockwave Totem Hierophant is a spell-based totem build which has great endgame potential. The buff to Shockwave Totem‘s damage make the skill viable for even the toughest encounters in Path of Exile.