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Ethereal Knives Ignite Elementalist Build

Ethereal Knives Ignite Elementalist Build

Ethereal Knives build for an Elementalist that uses multiple conversion layers to cause big Ignites

Ethereal Knives Ignite
Elementalist Build

Updated for Patch 3.24

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Guide notes
April 20, 2024
-Updated for Patch 3.24
Build Overview



Boss DPS:



Ethereal Knives is one of the simplest Physical Spells, it fires several Knives adjacent to Lingering Blades mechanics that is completely irrelevant for the purposes of this build. This Physical Damage will be converted first to Cold, and then a portion of it to Fire with some Chaos Damage on the side. Aim for more Fire Damage with Hits than Cold, this way you will deal more Ignite Damage from Shaper of Flames Keystone. You can play this build with a Bow and Quiver setup, or a Wand with Shield - in this case, you can start with a cheap Obliteration Wand, but there's no unique weapon better than a good Rare one. Burning Damage is scaled up by increasing the Gem Level, Physical, Cold, Fire, Chaos, Projectile, Ignite, DoT, and Spell Damage. The possible damage you can achieve with this build is nearly limitless because of the multitude of stats that play a role here, but it can be played as a starter too.

Mastermind of Discord and Heart of Destruction massively increase your Elemental Damage, Shaper of Flames guarantees Ignite with each Hit and further increases Burning Damage. Shaper of Storms is used to Shock foes on Hit for even more Damage. Clear Speed is excellent due to Herald of Ash alone, but it can be improved by items such as Gloomfang or the already mentioned Obliteration. As for the single-target damage, it's restricted by your budget. You're limited to around 10mil DPS, so it's not outstanding. Reaching more will cost a lot. The build has poor defenses - it has the Determination Aura with around 3 to 4k of Maximum Life, you could even fit in Grace by sacrificing other offensively-oriented Aura. A significant chunk of ES will cover Mana instead of Life via Void Battery, but with MoM, it will protect your Life Pool too. Overall it's not very tanky.

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1. Gameplay

With Ethereal Knives, you fire tons of Projectiles in a cone, so aiming is not an issue. For a guard Spell use Molten Shell, Flame Dash seems like the best option for a movement skill. The only other abilities to actively use are an Arcanist Brand with Hydrosphere and Flame Surge attached to it, and Malevolence cast as a Blessed Aura for a temporary damage boost. For other Auras, we've selected Determination, Hatred, Discipline, Herald of Ash, and Herald of Purity. Haste is useful for more Cast and Movement Speed, but your Ignite will last around 5 seconds anyway.

Full gameplay video:

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • clear speed is excellent, enemies explode on death
  • single-target damage is reasonably high
  • Can be played as a starter build
  • It has poor defenses


3. Leveling tips


A compelling leveling guide for this build can be found here: Witch Leveling Guide using Ignite.


you should kill all three Bandits for two additional Skill Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

23 Points Skill Tree
Start with Maximum Life and a lot of Fire Damage

64 Points Skill Tree
Pick Elemental overload, more Damage over Time, Fire Damage, Maximum Life, and Sovereignty for Reservation Efficiency

4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

93 Points Final Skill Tree (doesn't include Items, Unique, or Cluster Jewels)
123 Points Path of Building (PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Shaper of Flames
  2. Mastermind of Discord
  3. Heart of Destruction
  4. Shaper of Storms


Major God: Soul of Arakaali: 10% reduced Damage taken from Damage Over Time

Minor God: Soul of Abberath: 60% less Duration of Ignite on You


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Ethereal Knives setup
socketed in Skin of the Lords/Loyal
Ethereal Knives Ethereal Knives - A Spell that fires several fast Projectiles dealing Physical Damage, later converted. The transfigured Ethereal Knives of the Massacre can be used here instead - their damage is exactly the same but the projectiles are fired in a circle. If your Skin of the Lords/Loyal has sockets with different colors, you can switch some of the Support Gems listed here to Cruelty CrueltyEfficacy Efficacy, or  Deadly Ailments.
Empower Empower Support - Increases the Gem Level of the Spell which results in more Damage.
Burning Damage Support Burning Damage Support - More Burning Damage, the main type of damage here.
Unbound Ailments Unbound Ailments Support - Ignite lasts longer and deals more Damage.
Cold to Fire Cold to Fire Support - Half of the Cold Damage is converted to Fire, you also gain a lot of Cold Damage as Extra Fire Damage. It's the most important Gem here, don't switch it.
Swift Affliction Strikes Swift Affliction Support - Much more Damage over Time, but less Ignite Duration. It will still last long enough.
[UTILITY] Aura setup
Grace Hatred - You deal more Cold Damage and gain Extra Physical Damage as Cold Damage.
Determination Determination - Adds and increases Armour for better Physical Damage mitigation.
Discipline Discipline - With Mind Over Matter, Eldritch Battery, and a lot of Intelligence and gear with ES (that includes global defenses), Energy Shield will play the role of your Mana Pool and an extra defensive layer. Discipline grants extra ES.
Enlighten Enlighten Support - Increases the Mana Reservation Efficiency for linked Auras.
[UTILITY] Heralds
can be included in the Aura setup if you have a Bow
Herald of Ash Herald of Ash - Massively increases clear speed as killed enemies spread Burn on death, it also grants Extra Physical Damage as Fire Damage.
Herald of Purity Herald of Purity - use it for simple more Physical Damage.
Herald of Ice Herald of Ice - It simply Shatters enemies after Freezing and adds Cold Damage which might not be necessarily desirable. If you have enough Mana, consider replacing it with Grace Grace for more Evasion instead.
[UTILITY] Brand/Exposure setup
Arcanist Brand Arcanist Brand - The Brand will attach itself to an enemy and activate all linked Spells periodically.
Hydrosphere Hydrosphere - Applies Cold and Lightning Exposure and Ignites enemeis.
Combustion support Combustion Support - Enemies Ignited by Any of the Linked Skills have their Fire Resistance lowered.
Flame Surge Flame Surge - Cannot Ignite, but deals a lot of Damage against already Burning enemies, and creates Burning Ground.
[UTILITY] Malevolence setup
Malevolence Malevolence - The best damage-wise Aura for DOT builds, it grants more Damage over Time.
Divine Blessing support Divine Blessing Support - Makes Malevolence a temporary Aura so that it won't reserve Mana, but the build requires an Eldritch Battery to afford it.
Inspiration Support Inspiration Support - Lowers Mana Cost of Malevolence, you can go for the Divergent version to lower the cost even further. If you're using the Bow setup.
[MOBILITY] Flame Dash
Flame Dash Flame Dash - A simple movement ability you can use to teleport.
[UTILITY] Molten Shell
Molten Shell Molten Shell - A Guard Spell that absorbs the portion of incoming damage for some time.
Flammability Flammability - It's a Curse that lowers the Fire Resistance of affected enemies, try to have it on a Ring to apply automatically with each Hit.

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6. Gear Setup

It's a Burning Damage build with tons of Damage Conversion layers. The most important will be of course Burning and Ignite Damage, Gem Level of Ethereal Knives, then Damage over Time, Physical, or Cold Damage. Try to source Damage from other types, mostly Physical and Cold. To convert Physical Damage to Cold you can use one of Hatred's Modifiers from a Watcher's Eye, Cold Mastery, and/or Rare Gloves. Your Fire Damage with Hits has to be the highest but don't worry about converting all of it (all damage can cause Ignite with Shaper of Flames), the rest will be shared between Cold and Chaos gained from Gloomfang, Obliteration, or Atziri's Promise. The build needs no Uniques, but we recommend starting with a cheap Obliteration Wand. Polaric Devastation, Gloomfang, and Skin of The Lords are the optimal gear pieces for a finished build. For defenses seek Maximum Life, Spell Suppression, Energy Shield, Armour, and Evasion if you're using Grace. 155 Strength and Dexterity will be needed, you can get a lot of them from items, not so much from Skill Tree.

Our recommended items will:

  1. Cap your resistances at 75%
  2. Provide you with enough DPS and Life to start mapping

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Elemental Resistances until capped
  2. Gem Level of Ethereal Knives
  3. Maximum Life
  4. Mana Reservation Efficiency
  5. Burning/Ignite Damage
  6. Physical and Cold Damage
  7. Fire and Chaos Damage
  8. Dexterity and Strength
  9. Spell Suppression Chance
  10. Chaos Resistance
  11. Armour
Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - The Helmet should provide Maximum Life, Resistances, and increased Mana Reservation Efficiency for Skills, which can be also gained via Eldritch Blue Orbs.
Min. requirements:
+80% to Elemental Resistances
+70 to maximum Life
10% increased Mana Reservation Efficiency
Optional affixes:
Spell Suppression Chance
Chaos Resistance
Nearby Enemies have -#% to Fire Resistance
Helmet enchantments:
Grace/Determination/Hatred/Discipline has 30% increased Mana Reservation Efficiency
30% increased Flammability Curse Effect
Wand(Weapon) Rare Wand/Dagger/Sceptre - A weapon that would increase your EK level by two (Spell and Physical Spell), with some Burning Damage would be an amazing addition. You could even dual-wield these.
Min. requirements:
+1 to Level of all Physical Spell Skill Gems
100% increased Spell/Fire/Burning Damage
Optional affixes:
+1 to Level of all Spell Skill Gems
Damage over Time Multiplier
Fire Damage over Time Multiplier
increased Fire Damage
increased Burning Damage
Obliteration(Weapon) Obliteration - It's a great Wand to start with, and it makes enemies explode on death, but that becomes irrelevant after gaining enough damage with Herald of Ash. You're also not suited to deal Chaos Damage as an Elementalist, not as much as Elemental Damage.
(31-35)% increased Spell Damage
Gain (30-40)% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage
Enemies you Kill have a 20% chance to Explode, dealing a quarter of their maximum Life as Chaos Damage
Bow(Weapon) Rare Bow - A Bow can be a source of Damage over Time, but offers only Local bonuses to the Gem level of Skills. You can socket your Auras here, or the main EK setup if you don't have Skin of the Lords.
Min. requirements:
+(31-35)% to Damage over Time Multiplier
+1 to Level of Socketed Gems
Optional affixes:
+1 to Level of Socketed Dexterity Gems
Damage over Time Multiplier
increased Spell Damage
Gain #% of Fire Damage as Extra Chaos Damage
+2 to Level of Socketed Support Gems
Shield(Off-hand) Rare Shield - Maximum Life, Attributes, Resistances, and Spell Suppression are the most valuable modifiers on a Shield.
Min. requirements:
+80 to Maximum Life
+70% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Chance to Suppress Spell Damage
Chaos Resistance
Block Chance
Maximum Elemental Resistances
Quiver(Off-hand) Rare Quiver - Redeemer's/Shaper's and Warlord's Prefixes for Extra Cold and Fire Damage sourced from the base Physical type are the mods to look for on a Quiver.
Min. requirements:
+50 to Maximum Life
Gain 15% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage
Gain 15% of Physical Damage as Extra Cold Damage
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Skin of the Lords(Body Armour) Skin of the Lords - Skin of the Lord increases the Level of Socketed Gems by two and Global Defences like Armour, Evasion, and Energy Shield. It might be expensive, but it's the best option. You can use Skin of the Loyal too, it's quite similar but not as good.
Item has no level requirement and Energy Shield (Hidden)
Sockets cannot be modified
+2 to Level of Socketed Gems
100% increased Global Defences
You can only Socket Corrupted Gems in this item
Item has 6 Sockets and is fully linked (Hidden)
<Random Keystone>
Body Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - Regular Body Armour with tons of Life and Resistances can be good enough, but there are plenty of other exotic modifiers you can look for.
Min. requirements:
+90 to maximum Life
+90% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
+1 to Level of Socketed Active Skill Gems
Spell Suppression Chance
increased maximum Life
increased effect of Non-Curse Auras from your Skills
Enemies you Kill have a chance to Explode, dealing a tenth of their maximum Life as Physical Damage
Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - Seek Maximum Life, Movement Speed, Resistances, Attributes, Onslaught, and Spell Suppression Chance. You might want to craft an anti-Freeze Prefix as well.
Min. requirements:
+50% to Elemental Resistances
+60 to Maximum Life
25% increased Movement Speed
Optional affixes:
Chaos Resistance
Spell Suppression Chance
Chance to gain Onslaught on Kill
Cannot be Frozen
Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - There's a lot going on with Gloves. Convert your Physical Damage to Cold, it can be done by a Crusader's Prefix (up to 25%) and Eldritch blue Implicit (up to 35%), so you might not even need a Watcher's Eye to convert the rest (add to that the 40% from Mastery). From a Red Eldritch Implicit get the Fire Exposure on Hit. There's a Delve Suffix to make Ignite deal Damage faster, but it's rare.
Min. requirements:
+70 to Maximum Life
+50% to Elemental Resistances
Physical Damage Converted to Cold Damage
Optional affixes:
increased Damage over Time
Spell Suppression Chance
Ignites you inflict deal Damage (5–10)% faster
Belt(Belt) Rare Belt - On a Belt, there's nothing but Strength, Maximum Life, and Resistances - try to get as much of it as you can.
Min. requirements:
+90 to Maximum Life
+110% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Maximum Life
Gloomfang(Amulet) Gloomfang  - Gloomfang is the best Amulet you can find, and it's also a cheap one. It Makes your Projectiles Chain massively increasing clear speed, increases Projectile Speed, and grants extra Chaos Damage sourced from all the Non-Chaos damage types. In boss fights, try to Chain your Projectile off of Hydrosphere first.
(48-56)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
0.5% of Chaos Damage Leeched as Life
Lose (15-10) Life per Enemy Hit with Spells
Lose (25-20) Life per Enemy Hit with Attacks
Skills Chain +1 times
(30-40)% increased Projectile Speed
Projectiles that have Chained gain (20-35)% of Non-Chaos Damage as extra Chaos Damage
Recommended Anointments:
Dirty Techniques
Emberwake(Ring) Replica Emberwake - This Ring reduces Ignite Duration (which is not as bad as it seems - it's Reduced, not Less) and increases the Ignite speed resulting in a massive boost to your Damage. Ignites will now last around 2 seconds. Unbound Ailments Support Gem in your EK setup would be mandatory here.
+(20-30)% to Fire Resistance
(30-40)% increased Fire Damage
(5-10)% increased Cast Speed
90% reduced Ignite Duration on Enemies
10% chance to Ignite
Ignites you inflict deal Damage (35-45)% faster
Polaric Devastation(Ring) Polaric Devastation - Put it in your right ring slot to cover enemies in Ash, it reduces movement speed and increases Fire Damage Taken. It also grants a lot of Cold and Fire Resistance and some Elemental Damage.
(15-25)% increased Elemental Damage
(15-25)% increased Global Critical Strike Chance
+(20-40)% to Fire Resistance
+(20-40)% to Cold Resistance
(10-20)% increased Duration of Ailments on Enemies
Left Ring slot: Cover Enemies in Ash for 5 seconds when you Ignite them
Right Ring slot: Cover Enemies in Frost for 5 seconds when you Freeze them
Ring(Ring) Rare Ring - Rare Ring offers a unique mod that allows you to inflict Flammability on Hit which is really good. Maximum Life, Resistances, and Attributes are the most common mods to look after. Damage over Time Multiplier can be gained only via the Essence of Delirium.
Min. requirements:
+60 to Maximum Life
+70% to Elemental Resistances
Curse Enemies with Flammability on Hit
Optional affixes:
Chaos Resistance
15% to Damage over Time Multiplier
Rare Jewels(Jewel) Rare Jewels - There are a lot of modifiers to increase your Fire Damage, Burning Damage, and Damage over Time. Mana Reservation Efficiency and Maximum Life are valuable too.
Recommended affixes:
Elemental or Chaos Resistances
Damaging Ailments deal damage faster
increased Mana Reservation Efficiency of Skills
Maximum Life
Damage over Time Multiplier
Brutal Restraint(Jewel) Brutal Restraint - It's used only for the extra Dexterity, but there might be a chance to gain a minor bonus from an upgraded Notable in its radius. The best place for it is near Instability.
Denoted service of (500-8000) dekhara in the akhara of Nasima
Passives in radius are Conquered by the Maraketh
Watcher's Eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - Hatred's mod to convert Physical Damage to Cold is the most useful one, and almost all of the other mods for this Aura are good. Determination, Discipline, and Grace offer some defensive additions.
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Large Cluster Jewel - Sadist is the best Notable, Prismatic Heart or Widespread Destruction can be found on the same Jewel type. We've used two Large Cluster Jewels, you can then fit in four Medium ones.
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Prismatic Heart
1 Added Passive Skill is Sadist
1 Added Passive Skill is Widespread Destruction
1 Added Passive Skill is Doryani's Lesson
1 Added Passive Skill is Inspired Oppression
Medium Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Medium Cluster Jewel - One Master of Fire for Fire Exposure is good, but not necessary. Wasting Affliction and Blowback increase the speed at which Ignite deals damage, which is excellent. Fan the Flames Spread Ignite for a better clear speed. There are also other DoT, Burning, and Herald Notables you can get.
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Master of Fire
1 Added Passive Skill is Wasting Affliction
1 Added Passive Skill is Blowback
1 Added Passive Skill is Circling Oblivion
1 Added Passive Skill is Burning Bright
1 Added Passive Skill is Fan the Flames
1 Added Passive Skill is Empowered Envoy
1 Added Passive Skill is Purposeful Harbinger
Atziri's Promise(Flask) Atziri's Promise - Grants a lot of Extra Chaos Damage sourced from all the other types of Damage, Chaos Resistance, and a bit of Life Leech.
+35% to Chaos Resistance
2% of Chaos Damage Leeched as Life during Effect
Gain (5-8)% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
Gain (5-8)% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
Taste of Hate(Flask) Taste of Hate - Extra Cold Damage sourced from Physical Damage, much like Hatred Aura, is what makes this Flask so good.
+50% to Cold Resistance
20% less Cold Damage taken
(10-15)% of Physical Damage from Hits taken as Cold Damage during Effect
Gain (10-15)% of Physical Damage as Extra Cold Damage during effect
30% chance to Avoid being Chilled during Effect
30% chance to Avoid being Frozen during Effect

Other suggested Flasks:

  1. Quicksilver Flask with an increased Movement Speed
  2. Granite Flask with increased Armour Rating
  3. Life Flask with Bleeding/Freeze immunity/removal
Granite FlaskAtziri's PromiseTaste of HateLife FlaskQuicksilver Flask

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If you have any other build requests please leave that in the comments below. We are always open to suggestions and constructive feedback.

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