Guided Hierophant

Build Summary

THIS GUIDE IS CURRENTLY OUTDATED. If you're looking for the old guide, please see the page for deprecated 3.5 builds - this page will be revised during 3.6 updates.

This build uses Magma Orb, which fires a bouncing projectile that deals damage in an area on each bounce. Later on, you'll get extra projectiles on it more or less for free, allowing you to cover much of the screen in bouncy-ball death. Instead of casting Magma Orb yourself, you'll summon Totems - up to three, by the build's endgame - that will cast Magma Orb for you. Magma Orb wipes out packs effectively and using Totems allows you to remain at a safe distance, making this a strong all-purpose build with fast trash clear and slow-but-safe bossing.

This build is a ranged Spell caster that relies on Totems to cast spells.

Hierophant is one of the Templar Ascendancy subclasses. When you create a character, you'll create a Templar; you choose to be a Hierophant later on.

If you want to explore this build's stats, links, and Passive Tree interactively, head over to the Links page and download Path of Building. Then, in Path of Building, select Import/Export Build -> Import from Pastebin, and enter this link: https://pastebin.com/cWvFtWV7

Main Skill Basics

Magma Orb

Magma Orb fires a projectile orb that bounces several times, dealing damage with each bounce.

Magma Orb is a Fire Area Projectile Spell, and benefits from modifiers to each of these. Unlike most Projectiles, it does not impact enemies directly, and therefore continues even after it deals damage (it strikes the ground, not a target).

A single target can only be damaged by one projectile in a volley, so once you start firing more than one orb, you won't be able to damage any single enemy with more than one of them. However, multiple bounces of the same projectile can deal damage to a single target, since in strict game-mechanics terms a new projectile is created with each bounce.

Modifiers to Projectile Speed affect the distance the projectile travels between each bounce, as well as how quickly it travels between bounce points. Changes to Area of Effect size affect the size of each bounce's explosion, but do not affect the travel of the orbs themselves.

Totems

Although Totems are a class of skills, more so than a skill in themselves, they're central enough to this build to be worth discussing here.

Totems are independent units summoned by a Totem skill. They have their own Life and an AI, and can't be directly controlled by you. Most Totems cannot move. (The exceptions are those set up to use movement skills like Lightning Warp or Flame Dash.)

Totems use your abilities for you - in this case, your Totems will be using Magma Orb. They cast spells exactly as you do, dealing damage as you would, and are affected by modifiers to damage on you. However, a Totem is not You, it just deals your damage and any inherits effects attached to that damage. All damage dealt by a Totem automatically gains the Totem damage tag, and therefore scales with Totem Damage.

By default, you can summon only one Totem at a time. There are various ways to increase this limit, however, and this build will be able to summon three by the endgame.

See the 'Totems' page in the Mechanics Reference for more details on Totems.

Act 1

This section is meant to accompany the main "Act 1" section of the guide.

Early Act 1

You'll start with a club and a melee attack. You'll have to make do with these for the first zone, but you should keep an eye out for Wands or Sceptres as you go.

From Enemy at the Gate, you can pick up your Magma Orb gem. You'll have to cast this yourself for now, as you won't get Spell Totem Support until the middle of Act 1.

With your first few passive points, work your way towards the following tree. Once you have Mind Over Matter (the keystone at the top-right of this image), your Mana will act as a secondary Life pool, so make sure you keep a Mana Flask on hand!

Once you finish Mercy Mission, pick up Arcane Surge Support, which you'll want to use until you load your Magma Orb onto totems in a little while.

From Breaking Some Eggs, you can pick up Flame Totem for now, just to have a Totem to use.

Once you enter the Prison (The Caged Brute), you can finally pick up Spell Totem Support. Link it to your Magma Orb, and it will summon a Totem that casts Magma Orb instead of casting the spell directly. You're still able to do damage for yourself for now, and you should do so alongside your totem as long as you're able. You can also pick up Combustion Support, which should go in your Magma Orb's link (not for the Ignite chance itself, just for the Fire Resistance drop it applies).

Brutus (The Caged Brute) will kill your totems (and you) rather quickly given the chance - but he can't kill you both at once! Lay a totem far on the other side of him, and either run away if he comes after you, or do damage yourself if he breaks off to kill your Totem. This strategy works well throughout the early game.

Once you've defeated Brutus, you'll get access to Flame Dash and Leap Slam, two options for a Movement skill. We'll talk about movement skills much later in the guide, but there's no harm picking these up to use for now if you like.

Late Act 1

As you go, you'll want to look for a few specific sorts of item:

  • 3- and 4-linked items with at least one red and at least one blue socket. You can probably find some matching supports if you have to match the remaining sockets, but you need a red-blue to link your Magma Orb at all.
  • A Wand, Sceptre, or Staff with a large amount of Spell, Fire, or Elemental damage. You don't really care which type (unless you want to use Leap Slam, in which case you can't use a Wand), you just want as much raw damage as you can get.
  • Gear with Life and Resistances. Armour/Energy Shield mixed gear will get you the best chances at blue-red socket combinations.

As you continue to gain more Passive Skill Points, work your way towards the following tree. You'll have enough points for all the Passives shown here sometime around Act 3 or 4, at which point you can move on to the full Passive Tree (listed in the "Full Build" section of this guide below). You'll want to pick up Elemental Overload (the Keystone at the top-right) as quickly as possible, since it's a massive damage boost at this stage of the game.

Once you enter the Cavern of Wrath (The Siren's Cadence), Nessa will offer some gems. Pick up Scorching Ray, which you can use to inflict a Fire Resistance debuff on enemies (and do some extra damage) while your Totems hammer on them. You can also, if you want, pick up a Searing Bond, which allows you to place a bonus totem that shoots beams of fire at your other Totems. In the endgame, we'll use Scorching Ray but not Searing Bond.

For now, your basic playstyle is to lay your Totem (or Totems, if you playing with Searing Bond), then hammer away with damage of your own. It's important to use some skills that Hit (not just Scorching Ray) in order to keep your Elemental Overload effect active (when it's up, you'll see a buff at the top left of your screen).

Act 2

This section is meant to accompany the main "Act 2" section of the guide.

Early Act 2

If you haven't found a good weapon yet, consider using the +1 to Level of Socketed Fire Gems vendor recipe listed in the main guide. It's probably best to do this with a Sceptre, if only because it's easier to get a red socket on one.

For the Deal with the Bandits quest, we kill all the bandits. This is a no-brainer, since we're not building for crit (so no Alira) and aren't using Attacks or Physical Damage (Kraityn and Oak).

You don't care about any of the gems from Intruders in Black. We don't want to reserve any mana in this build, so even the minor gains they'd give aren't worth it.

From Sharp and Cruel, pick up Controlled Destruction Support, which is the last of our main Magma Orb 4-link. Strictly speaking, Concentrated Effect can be better on certain bosses, but the difference is small and can sometimes hurt you - just stick with Controlled Destruction for now.

Late Act 2

You should be pretty close to reaching Ancestral Bond on the tree. Once you do, you'll be able to summon a second Totem, but no longer deal any damage for yourself. Note that you can still both Hit and Critically Strike despite neither doing any damage, so you can still trigger Elemental Overload (and in the endgame, you'll use special utility skills to make sure you do). You can also still apply the effect of Scorching Ray, apply curses, etc - only your damage is prevented, not your secondary effects.

Act 3

This section is meant to accompany the main "Act 3" section of the guide.

Early Act 3

Once you've completed Lost in Love, you'll be rewarded with a choice of a few Curses. Projectile Weakness is the best option for this build, but requires more Dexterity than we're going to have, so we will want to take Flammability instead. We won't want to pick up any of the Auras that are now available, because we do not want to reserve any mana in this build (since our Mana acts as auxiliary Life via the Mind Over Matter passive).

Late Act 3

Sever the Right Hand offers nothing we care about.

A Fixture of Fate rewards Fortify Support, a good support choice for Leap Slam if you're using it.

If you do not already have Ancestral Bond, now is the time to get it. You're going to want two totems for some of the bosses coming up.

Act 4

This section is meant to accompany the main "Act 4" section of the guide.

Early Act 4

Your movement skill of choice is Flame Dash. Link it to Faster Casting to zip out of the way of attacks a bit quicker.

We don't care about the Golems from Breaking the Seal.

We also don't care about any of the actual spells from The Eternal Nightmare. However, this is the point where we'll want to pick up a useful utility setup with the newly available Cast While Channelling Support.

Link Scorching Ray - Cast While Channelling - Ice Spear together (optionally with Increased Critical Strikes in a fourth link). Ice Spear natively gets hugely inflated Critical Strike Chance if you're far away, and the idea here is that we can channel Scorching Ray to shred enemy Fire Resistance while triggering Ice Spears with a high chance to crit, giving us the ability to keep our Elemental Overload up easily. Again, note that this works even once you have Ancestral Bond - you can't deal damage, but you can still Hit or even Crit.

By this point you've probably completed the Passive Tree shown above. Here's the full tree, which you should work towards from here on out, adjusting how much damage or life you pursue as you feel your damage or survivability is in need of more help.

(By the way, you can slightly optimize this tree by spending a couple of respec points - take the two connecting nodes between Holy Dominion and Devotion at the bottom left, then drop the two points connecting your starting area with Mind Over Matter. I haven't done that in the default build because getting Mind Over Matter and Elemental Overload quickly is important for early levelling, but you can do so once you've got a couple points to spare.)

The Labyrinth is a good chance to practice your ability to stay out of the way while keeping your Scorching Ray debuff and Elemental Overload buffs active. Izaro hits very hard - don't give him the chance to smack you, and be ready to re-summon dead totems when he decides to kill them.

Once you've completed the Labyrinth, pick up Pursuit of Faith to gain the ability to use one additional Totem, increasing your max to 3. As if that weren't strong enough, it also provides substantial damage buffs just for having a Totem or for having them kill things.

Late Act 4

The late Act 4 bosses don't have any mechanics that require killing them quickly, so play it safe and just let your totems do the job!

Act 5

This section is meant to accompany the main "Act 5" section of the guide.

The only major build-specific note for Act 5 is the choice of Unique Jewel from Death to Purity. You'll want Inevitability, which adds an extra projectile to Magma Orb - instead of one bouncing ball of fiery death, your totems will now fire two. It needs to go in a socket in the Intelligence section of the tree to work - both the sockets taken in the tree will qualify for its effect.

You can, and should, go shopping for a second Inevitability from another player at this point. It shouldn't cost you more than an Orb of Alchemy, and it's another huge boost to your clear speed.

Both jewels should be socketed as soon as possible.

Part II (Acts 6-10)

Once you complete your second Labyrinth, around the end of Act 7 or the beginning of Act 8, pick up Ritual of Awakening. This gives a substantial damage bonus for each totem you have, allows you to place your totems two at a time, and gives you tons of Life and Mana regeneration while your Totems are active.

Epilogue & Maps

Once you complete your third Labyrinth, sometime early into Maps, pick up Divine Guidance to bring a big chunk to your mana pool (and thus to your effective Life).

One of the advantages of a Totem build is to be able to handle almost any Map mods. You're not afraid of reflected damage (since your totems take it, not you), you're not afraid of damage (because you can stay away while your totems do the job), and so on.

Once you complete your final Labyrinth, late in the endgame, pick up Sanctuary of Thought for yet more extra defenses - this time, around 1000 bonus Energy Shield. This is a big help against getting one-shotted, and since you're mostly trying to avoid being hit at all there's plenty of opportunity for your Energy Shield to recharge.

The Full Build

Main Skill Links

Magma Orb - Spell Totem - Controlled Destruction - Combustion. In a 5-link, add in Immolate. In a 6-link, swap between Increased Area of Effect and Concentrated Effect between trash and bosses. Multiple Totems is also an option - it's less damage than the other supports, but adding more Totems does improve your defenses and gives you more coverage.

Scorching Ray - Cast While Channeling - Ice Spear - Increased Critical Strikes. Use this to apply the Resistance shredding from Scorching Ray and to keep Elemental Overload up on yourself. If you're able to set up two 5-links (so that you've already got your Magma Orb in one), replace Increased Critical Strikes with Curse on Hit and add in your Curse of choice for even more free utility.

Utility Links

(Beyond the standard ones listed as part of the Act 4 Guide)

Leap Slam - Fortify - Faster Attacks is an easy Movement option. Note that you will probably move rather slowly, as you have no Attack Speed bonuses in your build and you will likely not be able to fully level Faster Attacks.

Curses

Projectile Weakness is the best offensive choice if you somehow have astronomical Dexterity. But more realistically, you should use Flammability as your offensive pick. Enfeeble is the best defensive option.

Gearing

Your weapon should be a standard caster weapon, with a mix of Spell Damage, Fire Damage, Adds X Damage to Spells, and (if you're using a Staff) + to Level of Socketed Gems. Critical Strike modifiers do nothing for you.

If you're using a one-handed weapon in your main hand, you can either use a second one in your off-hand with similar stats, or you can look for a good caster shield, also with the same basic stat priorities.

On your armour, you're mostly just looking for defensive stats: Resistances until cap, then Life, and only then Armour or Energy Shield. The same goes for jewellery, although you can also look for Increased Fire Damage and Cast Speed on those.

Notable Unique items include:

  • Soul Mantle (a chest with a built in Spell Totem Support, allowing a pseudo-7-link, and +1 Max Totems)
    • If you use Soul Mantle, pick up two Kikazaru rings, which reduce the effect of the curses that Soul Mantle will inflict on you as a downside.
  • Rain of Splinters (a jewel that reduces Totem damage but adds two additional projectiles)

Full Passive Tree

Click here for an interactive version.