This POE build takes the Totem playstyle and pushed it to its logical conclusion. Since with smart play you can easily make your Totems tank all the DPS coming at you, it’s very easy to make a “glass cannon” type build in Path of Exile. And with the Ascendancy reworks and Passive shuffling of POE 3.7 and Legion, it’s even more enjoyable to play such a build.
Using the passive tanking and damage boosts offered by Ancestral Warchief, we can focus this build in a handful of areas and achieve some truly astronomical damage numbers.
Offensively, your Totems will be doing all the work, so scaling their DPS with your Heralds, Golem and other buffs is vital. The elemental conversion offered by your weapon choice also further increases the amount of damage you can deal with your Ancestral Warchief Totems. Power Charge generation, as well as buffs scaling from those, will also help a fair bit. Head down to the gear section for some recommendations on that front.
Defensively, you will never be face-tanking with this build. Although you have some damage reduction and Block Chance to help in emergencies, your primary goal in Legion with this POE build should be to move out of the way with Phase Run and Quicksilver Flasks.
You’ll find all you will need to construct this build down below. The guide assumes that you’re going all-out and are maximizing every aspect, but you don’t have to go that far at all to reach a point where the build is enjoyable. If you are a brand new Path of Exile player, feel free to check out our various POE guides for noobs.
- Insane DPS
- League Starter
- Budget-viable in terms of gear
- Good boss killer
- Totems aren’t for everyone
- Not HC viable
- Glass cannon style makes endgame grind and bosses tough
Upgrade all of these.
Major God: Soul of Solaris
A strong choice for the added Physical Damage reduction.
Minor God: Soul of Ralakesh
The increased damage reduction is great when moving, as since we constantly proc Phase Run, we’ll always have that little bit of extra help. Abberath offers decent defensive help as well for fire damage.
Helping Alira will give us extra critical strike multiplier, all resistance, and Mana regeneration. We benefit from all three with this build.
Preferably in this order:
- Righteous Providence
- Inevitable Judgement
- Instruments of Virtue
- Augury of Penitence
40% increased Ancestral Warchief Totem Damage
12% increased Ancestral Warchief Totem Area of Effect
0.6% of Damage Leeched as Life and Mana if you’ve Killed Recently
x% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you’ve Killed Recently
Commandment of Commandment of Light or Force.
You could also use these Corruptions on different gear:
+1 to Maximum Power Charges
(4–6)% increased maximum Life
(8–10)% increased Attack Speed
Leveling Items and General Tips
Leveling Uniques: Check out our leveling Uniques guide
Act 1: The Ledge
Act 2: The Fellshrine Ruins
Act 3: The Docks
Act 4: The Dried Lake
Act 5: The Chamber of Innocence
Act 6: The Ridge
Act 7: The Temple of Decay lv1-2
Act 8: The Harbour Bridge
Act 9: The Blood Aqueduct
Act 10: The Ossuary
Be careful of these map mods:
* Monsters have #% increased Critical Strike Chance / +#% to Monster Critical Strike Multiplier
With high evasion, attacks should almost never crit you. Spells on the other hand can still hit hard.
* Monsters fire 2 additional Projectiles
Scary mod on some bosses and monster types. Some monsters are still able to spam out too many projectiles to handle.
* Area contains two Unique Bosses
Your goal to survive this mode is a combo of extreme DPS and Life. The faster you can down the bosses, the less threat they pose.
* #% increased Monster Movement Speed / #% increased Monster Attack Speed / #% increased Monster Cast Speed
Some bosses are going to be too fast to hit effectively, meaning you’ll spend more time than you normally should kiting them. This combination with Temporal Chains is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.
* Players are Cursed with Vulnerability
Negated during mapping with a Warding Flask, but not against bosses. Ailments from bosses can kill you easily.
* Players are Cursed with Temporal Chains
I would personally avoid this on high-tier maps.
Final Skill Gem Setup
You’ll find recommendations for different attack skill setups for this build below. The basic buff and aura setups are down there too. The basic idea is to swap out to your single-target skill before taking on the boss, so keep that in mind.
=== MAIN ATTACK ===
Vaal Ancestral Warchief -> Melee Physical Damage -> Faster Attacks -> Increased Critical Damage ->Elemental Damage with Attacks -> Increased Critical Strikes
=== SECONDARY DPS SKILL ===
Storm Brand -> Power Charge on Critical -> Increased Area of Effect -> Less Duration
=== MOVEMENT ===
=== AURA/UTILITY ===
Immortal Call -> Cast when Damage Taken Support -> Summon Ice Golem-> Increased Duration
Herald of Ash
Build Uniques / Example Rare Gear
In this section you will find all the suggested items for this build. We always try to include optional gear in our listing, or try your own assuming you get similar stat rolls. Aim for high-quality Rares if you’re replacing Uniques. The Minimum/Optional requirements listed assume you’re using Rares as a replacement for listed Uniques (where possible).
Depending on your gear choices, you can go for either a lot more DPS at the expense of Life, or go for more defensiveness by sacrificing a portion of DPS. This is your choice. In most cases, I would prefer Life personally, as it’s just a bit more forgiving. If you’re a new player, this may the path for you.
Life is super important for survivability, especially at end-game. Although be careful not to forsake too many damage mods for it or you won’t be able to kill mobs quick enough for your defenses to handle incoming DPS.
Physical Damage is your primary DPS, and it scales primarily as a percentage that converts to Fire/Cold with some skills. This means you should target Physical damage over direct Elemental damage so as to not compromise defenses.
Resistances until capped.
Armour, Block Chance and physically dodging attacks are your defensive layers. By using specific item base types and Flasks, we can achieve a useful amount of defense while scaling our Crits and overall Elemental Damage.
Attack Speed means that you simply attack faster the higher it is. This stat becomes vital for scaling overall DPS. Attack Speed is great for your movement skill to keep Fortify up.
Crit Multiplier and Crit Chance are vital with this build.
The Stormwall is the assumed basis for this build, as it offers a bit of defensive layering and lots of DPS scaling from Elemental conversion. For this reason, it should be considered an absolute necessity for this build once you hit mapping.
A decent leveling option can be found by looking at the Unique Staves list here. Look for something that does decent Physical Damage and offers a relatively high block chance to make leveling easier.
A Rare might work here at endgame, but it would need insane pDPS to even be viable, as you really need that elemental conversion to get DPS scaling correctly. You would also need to find other sources of Elemental Damage conversion in other gear slots. This would fundamentally change the build, so I can’t recommend going for a Rare weapon with this POE build.
A Rare works OK here, the enchant is where most of the power of this slot comes from in that case. I would say going for enchants which increase your main skill damage are best. Evasion bases for Rares should be your target, Eternal Burgonet or Royal Burgonet are good bases in this type.
A Unique like a well-rolled Abyssus will be great though with its bonuses to Crits. Although getting one that’s highly rolled with the right Lab enchant will drive up the price exponentially.
Here’s the stats for a Rare in any base type, although go for Strength/Armour bases for best Life:
90 Maximum Life
Increased Maximum Life
Nearby Enemies take #% Increased Physical Damage (Jagged Fossil)
Reduced Attribute Requirements
+1 to Maximum Power Charges (Corruption)
% chance to gain a Power Charge on Kill (Shaper)
Because this is a glass cannon type build, you have a pretty flexible slot in terms of body armour. You can opt for maximum possible DPS or get a bit of defenses and help with survivability. I would recommend going for a good Armour base like an Astral Plate with Elder/Shaper influence. This gives not only good Life increases, but also some great potential
There are several ways to further increase the effectiveness of a Rare here, but they will massively increase the currency cost, as a high-end Armour that fits these parameters would be Mirror-service-worthy.
- A + Level to Socketed Gems Affix is extremely useful if running a Rare.
- Getting Reduced Attribute Requirements can really help if you’re struggling with attributes. This can also free up other Affixes as you no longer need to waste them. This would allow you to further increase your DPS. Although getting this mod combination will be extremely hard, and will cost a lot of currency, so bank on just using a crafted affix instead. You only really need this on one item, so scale Physical DPS with the other items
- Getting a high, or possibly Legacy, Increased Life and/or Chaos Resistance roll really helps with survivability if you’re lacking in resists.
Here’s the stats for a Rare in an Armour base type, use POEAffix for your desired base and look for mods that align with these:
100 maximum Life
% Increased Maximum Life (Elder Mod)
Multiple Physical Damage Buffs
Gain Onslaught for # seconds on Hit (Essence Mod)
+ to Level of Socketed Support Gems (Elder Mod)
Abyss Belts with Life and Resistances are a good option for more difficult end-game sections and bosses. Other Rares might do in a pinch, but not having good rolls can make you a lot more squishy than is tolerable. Abyss Jewels are also a great source for damage buffs as well. Buffing your damage and Life is the best bet here with Jewels.
Elder/Shaper variants are good too, assuming you can get a good combo of Life and Resists on them.
70 Maximum Life
% Increased Damage
x% Increased Elemental Damage with Attacks
Reduced Flask Charges Used
% Increased Global Physical Damage (Jagged Fossil)
Gloves can be one of the more flexible gear slots while leveling, pick any Unique Gloves which focus on buffing needed Attributes or damage types and you’ll be fine for leveling. Once you hit end-game, opt for a high-end Rare ASAP. If you need help choosing Unique Gloves, refer to the leveling items section above, or go to this list. Tombfist is pretty good when paired with relevant Abyss Jewels.
Rare Gloves with buffs to Physical/Elemental damage are great as and endgame option. Always get some Attack Speed and added Physical Damage with this base to make it viable with this POE build.
70 Maximum Life
Multiple Physical Damage Buffs
Increased Attack Speed
Minions have % Increased Damage (Master)
Rare boots with max rolled Life, Resists and Movement Speed are great as a generic choice, but you may find yourself a bit more prone to taking hits than you would like. This one is more of a personal judgment call. Here’s the basic requirements for Rare in this slot.
60 maximum Life
30% increased Movement Speed
Any Uncapped Resistances (>25%)
Once you’ve gotten decently into end-game, you may want to switch to a Unique that’s more tailored for the playstyle of the build.
Bubonic Trail – An excellent option for Uniques in this slot. Pair with Abyss Jewels targeting boosting Attack Speed and Physical Damage.
If using a Rare, Get a Shaper/Elder and stack as much Life as you can on your Amulet to prevent feeling too squishy. Carnage Heart is decent for leveling, but you need more Crit Chance in later parts of the game to scale DPS effectively.
50 maximum Life
Adds # to # Physical Damage
10% All Elemental Resistances
Gain #% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage (Elder Mod)
% Increased Physical Damage
Ventor’s Gamble rings are a good choice here if you want some Magic Find. Always get a Ventor’s with positive rolls in all cases. It will be a bit more expensive, but not too much more. Another Unique option with similar MF potential, and even more DPS, is Le Heup of All. This latter option also allows you to scale more damage through affixes on other slots by getting needed Attributes.
If using a Rare Ring, use the following start priorities to help guide your selection. Steel Rings are a good base for this build. Rolling high Item Level Shaper/Elder bases with Essences is a great option if you have the currency.
60 Maximum Life
% Increased Elemental Damage with Attacks
% Increased Melee Damage (Elder)
Warlord’s Mark on Hit (Shaper)
% Global Critical Strike Chance (Shaper)
Lion’s Roar – Useful utility flask for better defense that also grants a bit more DPS.
Atziri’s Promise – Chaos Resistance and extra DPS is really useful.
- Perpetual Diamond Flask of Heat (Freeze Immunity)
- Experimenter’s Quicksilver Flask of Staunching (Bleed Immunity)
- Catalyzed Divine Life Flask of Warding (Curse Removal)
You can swap these mods around if needed due to RNG.
Abyss Jewels that have a chance to gain Onslaught can also be used in a slot for a damage increase. Watcher’s Eye with mods targeting your Heral/Hatred buffs can also be really strong, but are very expensive, especially in Legion. Spire of Stone is an absolute must for max DPS though, as it prevents Totems from being stunned.
Rare Jewels can run with the following stats:
- % Increased Maximum Life
- % Increased Attack Speed
- % Global Critical Strike Chance (Abyss)
- % Increased Melee Damage
- % Increased Physical Damage
- % Increased Physical Damage with Two Handed Melee Weapons
- % Increased Area Damage
Attributes (Dexterity/Intelligence only if needed for max level Gems)