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Flamewood Totem Chieftain

Flamewood Totem Chieftain

An experimental Chieftain Build that uses Flamewood Support and Vaal Ancestral Warchief to inflict powerful Ignites

Flamewood Ancestral Warchief
Chieftain Build

Created for Patch 3.22

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Guide notes
September 6, 2023
-Build created
Build Overview



Boss DPS:



The newly added Flamewood Support is a very interesting and fresh way to approach Totem Builds, but unfortunately, it is heavily held back by its design. It can Support any Totem in the game, and when the Totem is struck by an Enemy, it retaliates with a fiery projectile that deals Fire Damage based on the Totem's maximum Life. This effect has a 1-second Cooldown for each Totem, and has a rather slow flight time, which makes it unreasonable to scale for Hit-based Characters, thus leaving only 1 option: Ignite. 

For regular Totems, it can hardly compete with common Ignite Builds. However, there is one exception. The Vaal Ancestral Warchief has an absurdly high Maximum Life and can be scaled to even higher values very easily. One instance of Ignite coming from this Vaal Totem will melt most Bosses you will come across in the game, it is probably the most potent source of Ignite in the game currently. The non-Vaal version is much weaker but still capable of dealing solid Damage.  

The biggest problem of Flamewood is not the Damage it can deal, but the Clear Speed and general reliability. After summoning the Totem, you will have to wait for Enemies to attack it, and sometimes they fail to do so despite being Taunted. The Damage that comes from the Vaal Ancestral Warchief definitely makes up for all the waiting, but the regular version - not so much. For that reason, we recommend supplementing the Totems with a second Setup and keeping Flamewood only for tougher Rares and Bosses. Because of the Ancestral Bond Keystone, you can only use other Totems, Traps, and Mines, of which the Searing Bond and Fire Trap seem to have the best results. 

The recently reworked Cheftain Ascendency is a great pick for this Build. It offers insane levels of durability thanks to an easily achievable 90% Max Resistance for all Elements and a simpler Gearing process. With such high Resistances, it is advised to convert a portion of Physical Damage to be taken as Elemental, which you can do through the Lightning Coil Unique Body Armour and special modifiers on your Rare Helmet. You will also naturally have very high Life Regeneration from the Fire Mastery, as you stack tons of Fire Resistance anyway. With such high defenses, you can safely stand still to set all nearby Enemies' Fire Resistances to -20% regardless of circumstances. Summoning your Totems will also Taunt Enemies, which lowers the Damage they do to you, and makes it easier for Flamewood to trigger. 

If you dislike the playstyle of Flamewood Totems but enjoy very tanky Ignite Builds,  you can very easily use this Character as a template for any other Fire Spell. You will have to change Gem Setups and replace the Totem Passives with the Fire Damage Cluster Jewel instead. 

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1. Gameplay

It is a slow but very steady Build. You will Summon your Totems and wait for the Ignite to kill all nearby Enemies, which you can boost a little bit by summoning Searing Bond or throwing Fire Traps. You can set Enemy Resistances to a fixed value, so the only Curse to increase your Damage is the Punishment. To move around you can use the Shield Charge or Flame Dash, depending on your needs. The more Enemies Hit your Totem, the better the Clear Speed becomes. 

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • Very strong Burst Ignite Damage
  • Insane durability against Elemental and Physical Damage
  • Simple Gearing process
  • Comfortable playstyle 
  • Slow 
  • Relies on Vaal Souls for Single-target Damage

3. Leveling tips

You most definitely shouldn't level up with the final setup. With just a few adjustments to the Passive Tree, you can level up with just any Fire Spell to your liking, even the Righteous Fire. The Character is not suited to be the first Build of the League anyway, so you should have some leveling Uniques ready to be used. 

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Rolling Magma setup
Rolling Magma Rolling Magma - a basic Fire Spell that has decent AoE Clear and can Hit Enemies twice if you position the bounces correctly.  
Combustion  Support Combustion Support - improves your Ignite Chance and lowers Fire Resistances of Burning Enemies. 
Arcane Surge  support Arcane Surge Support - grants you a Buff that boosts a bit of your Spell Damage, Cast Speed, and Mana Regeneration. 
Faster Casting support Faster Casting Support - improves your Cast Speed, which will probably be quite lacking. You can replace it with Spell Echo at level 38. 
Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support - lowers your Critical Strike Chance but grants you tons of Spell Damage bonus. 
Inspiration support Inspiration Support - it grants you plenty of Elemental Damage bonus and lowers the Mana Costs. 
Aura setup
Herald of ash Herald of Ash - reserves only 25% of your maximum Mana and grants you decent amount of Fire Spell Damage modifier.  
vitality Vitality - greatly improves your Life Regeneration during the Campaign which can be very handy.   

Clarity - this Aura boosts your Mana Regeneration, which will be pretty bad as a Spell Casting Marauder by default. 

Utility setup
Frostblink  Flame Dash - a short Teleport Spell that leaves a fiery patch on your way.  
Flammability Flammability - a Curse that lowers Enemy Fire Resistances. You can replace it with the Punishment once you complete the Labirynth. 
steelskin Steelskin - it disables Bleeding effects and grants you plenty of Damage absorption during its Duration. 


Kill all Bandits to get additional 2 Passive Tree Skill Points

Leveling Skill Trees:
40 Points Passive Tree
We recommend changing the early-game Passive Tree a bit in order to rush for the Damage nodes first:
1) Born to Fight 2) Arsonist 3) Divine Judgement 4) Holy Fire 5) Purity of Flesh 6) Arcane Capacitor 7) Devotion

69 Points Passive Tree
1) Sovereignty 2) Breath of Flames 3) Cruel Preparations 4) Deep Thoughts 5) Barbarism 6) Juggernaut 7) Bloodless


Recommended leveling items:

Le Heup of AllLe Heup of All - provides you with all Attributes and Resistances, and also boosts your Damage a bit. 
Adds 1 to 4 Physical Damage to Attacks
+(10-30) to all Attributes
(10-30)% increased Damage
(10-30)% increased Rarity of Items found
+(10-30)% to all Elemental Resistances
PraxisPraxis - this Ring makes your Spell-casting much easier to sustain. You can equip two of them to make your Spells nearly free to Cast. 
+(20-30) to maximum Mana
+(30-60) to maximum Mana
Regenerate (3-6) Mana per second
-(8-4) to Total Mana Cost of Skills
8% of Damage taken Recouped as Mana
rare wandRare Wand - you can find a Wand with a bonus to your Gem levels at level 1, or more commonly at level 12. 
Recommended modifier:
+1 to Level of all Fire Spell Skill Gems
Tabula RasaTabula Rasa - this awesome Body Armour grants you early access to a six-link setup right from the start of your journey. You can look for Corrupted Implicit that will raise your Gem Levels by 2. 
Item has no level requirement and Energy Shield (Hidden)
Item has 6 White Sockets and is fully linked (Hidden)
GoldrimGoldrim - with this Helmet, you won't have to worry about your Elemental Resistances for most of your leveling process. 
+(30-50) to Evasion Rating
10% increased Rarity of Items found
+(30-40)% to all Elemental Resistances
Reflects 4 Physical Damage to Melee Attackers
Level Requirement reduced by 100 (Hidden)
Perandus BlazonPerandus Blazon - it grants all Attributes and Fire Resistances, but we recommend using it mostly for the prolonged Flask Effect Duration. 
(15-25)% increased Stun and Block Recovery
+(20-30) to all Attributes
(6-8)% increased Quantity of Items found
+20% to Fire Resistance
20% increased Flask Effect Duration
-2 Physical Damage taken from Attack Hits
AstramentisAstramentis - You will probably lack a bit of Intelligence to use your Spell Gems at first, so you can use this Amulet. It will also fix your Dexterity, which is also lacking.
+(10-16) to all Attributes
+(80-100) to all Attributes
-4 Physical Damage taken from Attack Hits
seven league stepSeven-League Step - those boots grant an unmatching amount of Movement Speed across all Items in the game. Be careful, as it is very easy to get used to them! 
50% increased Movement Speed
Level Requirement reduced by 100 (Hidden)

4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

118 Points Final Passive Tree (doesn't include Cluster or Unique Jewels)
118 Points Path of Building (PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in this order:

  1. Ramako, Sun's Light
  2. Tasalio, Cleansing Water
  3. Valako, Storm's Embrace
  4. Arohogui, Moon's Presence


Major God: Soul of the Brine King: You cannot be Stunned if you've been Stunned or Blocked a Stunning Hit in the past 2 seconds; 30% increased Stun and Block Recovery

Minor God: Soul of Shakari: 50% less Duration of Poisons on You; You cannot be Poisoned while there are at least 3 Poisons on you


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Vaal Ancestral Warchief setup
Ancestral Warchief Vaal Ancestral Warchief - summons a Melee Totem that Attacks nearby Enemies. In this setup it deals almost no Damage on its own. The Vaal version has a huge bonus to maximum Life and aggressively jumps to nearby Enemies.  
Flamewood Support Flamewood Support - the core of this Build, when the Totem is struck by the Enemy, it will shoot a fire Projectile that deals Damage based on the maximum Life of the Totem. 
Combustion Support  Combustion Support - boosts your Fire Damage and grants you plenty of Chance to Ignite. It also lowers Enemy Fire Resistance, which can be helpful during Map Clear when you move around a lot.  
Deadly Ailments Support  Deadly Ailments Support - greatly lowers the Hit Damage of your Skill but proportionally increases the Damage they take from Ignite. 
Burning Damage Support Burning Damage Support - this Support Gem improves all your Burning Damage, which Ignite counts as. 
Unbound Ailments Support Unbound Ailments Support - improves your Damage over Time and makes them last longer, which is very important for big Ignite instances from your Vaal Totem. 
[UTILITY] Aura setup
Malevolence  Malevolence - it is your main offensive Aura, it increases the Damage you deal with your Ignites. It also increases the Duration of your effects, so the Vaal Totem has more time to inflict powerful Ignite. 
Determination  Determination - grants you a lot of flat Armour Rating and greatly improves it further. With a great amount of Physical Damage taken as Elemental, you can consider swapping it with the Petrified Blood. 
Purity of Fire Purity of Fire - provides you with a lot of Fire Resistance, but most importantly, it raises your Maximum Fire Resistance, which will apply to all Elemental types thanks to your Ascendency.  
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - this handy Support Gem lowers the Reservation of all linked Auras.  
Clarity  Clarity - grants you plenty of Mana Regeneration. You don't have to link it with Enlighten, and you shouldn't level it too much if you lack Unreserved Mana.  
[UTILITY] Arrogance setup
Vitality  Vitality - grants you Life Regeneration, which is always useful to have. You will have tons of Life Regeneration from other sources, so you can leave it at level 1 just to benefit from the Aura Mastery.
Arrogance Support Arrogance Support - with this Support Gem your Auras will Reserve Life instead of Mana. The Aura Mastery grants you +1 to maximum Resistances if you have both Mana and Life Reserved. 
[UTILITY] Arcanist Brand setup
Arcanist Brand Arcanist Brand - creates a Brand that automatically Casts all linked Spells in quick succession on the Target it is attached to. 
Flame Surge Flame Surge - when this Spell Hits an Ignited Enemy, it creates a Burning Ground that deals 25% of the Ignite Damage per second. 
Punishment  Punishment - a powerful Curse that greatly improves your Damage against Enemies with less than 50% of their Maximum Life. You shouldn't use Elemental Curses, so it is the only option to improve your Damage. 
Lifetap Support Lifetap Support - Casting all those Spells consumes large amounts of Mana, which you don't have. Use this Support to pay the Costs with Life instead. 
[UTILITY] Shield Charge setup
Shield Charge Shield Charge - causes you to charge in a specific direction. It is your main Movement Skill that doesn't have any Cooldown. It scales with your Attack and Movement Speed. 
Faster Attacks support Faster Attacks Support - this Support Gem makes your Shield Charge much faster. 
Lifetap Support Lifetap Support - you will need to pay the Mana Costs with your Life to be able to continuously spam this ability.  
[UTILITY] Optional Damage setup
Searing Bond Searing Bond - summons a Totem that creates a fiery link between you and all other Totems in radius. It deals Fire DoT that doesn't Hit, so it cannot inflict Ignite. Use it if you find your Clear Speed with Warchief Totems too slow. 
Burning Damage Support Burning Damage Support - this will increase the Damage your Totem deals with its fiery beam. 
Controlled Destruction support Controlled Destruction Support - grants a lot of Spell Damage bonus at the cost of lower Critical Strike Chance, which the Totem doesn't have anyway.  
Lifetap Support Lifetap Support - the Searing Bond has a very high base Mana Cost, so you will need this Support Gem to Cast it freely.   
[UTILITY] Optional Damage setup
Fire Trap Fire Trap - you could also use the Fire Trap instead of Searing Bond. It has higher Damage and can inflict Ignites, but you will have to use it more often. 
Burning Damage Support Burning Damage Support - it increases the baseline Damage of Fire Trap and the potential Ignite it can inflict. 
Swift Affliction support Swift Affliction Support - makes the Fire Trap deal more Damage, but in a lesser amount of time.
Trap and Mine Damage Support Trap and Mine Damage Support - a very powerful Support Gem that grants an insane amount of Damage for every Trap or Mine Skill.   

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6. Gear Setup

The Gearing process is much simpler compared to regular Ignite Character, as you can focus only on Fire Resistance to cap your Cold and Lightning Resistance too. Doing so will also increase your Life Regeneration. Note that bonuses to All Elemental Resistances do not work, it must specify the Fire Resistance component. You will also want to get maximum Life, some Chaos Resistances, and Attributes, especially Dexterity. For Damage, you should look mostly for bonuses to Fire, Elemental, or Burning Damage. Damage over Time Multiplier is also important. Boosting the level of Ancestral Warchief Gem can be done only through the specific Unique Amulet and Corruption on your Body Armour. 

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Life 
  2. Resistances
  3. Physical Damage Taken as Elemental
  4. DoT Multiplier
  5. Elemental Damage
  6. Life Regeneration
rare weapon(Weapon) Rare Weapon the Weapon is quite simple. You only need Damage over Time Multipliers and Fire Damage here. Since you don't need any additional Gem Levels, it will be much cheaper than usual.
Min. requirements:
+20% to Fire Damage over Time Multiplier
+70% increased Fire Damage 
Optional affixes:
Chance to Ignite
Damage over Time Multiplier
Rise of the Phoenix(Helmet) Rise of the Phoenix - thanks to the Cheftain Ascendency this Shield effectively grants you 5% to all Maximum Resistances and lots of Life Regeneration. Try to get one with Corrupted Implicit that redirects a portion of the Physical Damage to be taken as Elemental. 
(240-300)% increased Armour and Energy Shield
Regenerate (100-200) Life per second
+5% to maximum Fire Resistance
+(20-25)% to Fire Resistance
+25% to Fire Resistance while on Low Life
10% increased Movement Speed when on Low Life
100% chance to Avoid being Ignited while on Low Life

Rare Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - on your Helmet you can get a lot of Life, Resistances, and very important Physical Damage Taken as an Elemental modifier. You can also get some Mana Reservation Efficiency through Essence Modifier or Enchant. 

Min. requirements:
+60 to maximum Life
% of Physical Damage from Hits taken as Fire Damage (Eldritch Implicit + Craft)
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistance
Chaos Resistance
% increased Life Regeneration rate
Mana Reservation Efficiency
Lightning Coil(Body Armour) Lightning Coil - greatly reduces the Physical Damage you take, but you will have to get a bit more Lightning Resistance on your Gear. Try to get one with Corrupted Implicit that increases the Level of Socketed AoE Gems. You can Link and Colour the Sockets cheaply using Tainted Currency afterward.
Adds 1 to (20-30) Lightning Damage to Attacks
(90-120)% increased Armour and Evasion
+(60-80) to maximum Life
-60% to Lightning Resistance
50% of Physical Damage from Hits taken as Lightning Damage
Cloak of Flame(Body Armour) Cloak of Flame - provides a very strong increase to the Duration of Ignite applied by your Vaal Ancestral Warchief but grants less Physical Damage mitigation than the Lightning Coil. It also lacks Armour, so you will have to find another way to get +1 to maximum Resistance which you would lose from the Armour Mastery. 
+(50-75)% to Fire Resistance
(40-75)% increased Ignite Duration on Enemies
Reflects 100 Fire Damage to Melee Attackers
40% of Physical Damage taken as Fire Damage
Torchoak Step(Boots) Torchoak Step - those Boots increase the Totem Life and Totem Placement Speed, which both are very valuable modifiers for this Build. The Damage Reflect is useful, but not very impactful. You can Corrupt them for +2 Levels to socketed Aura or AoE Gems and put the level 21 Purity of Fire there to get +1 maximum Fire Resistance. 
(80-120)% increased Armour
(20-30)% increased Totem Life
25% increased Movement Speed
(30-50)% increased Totem Placement speed
Totems Reflect 100% of their maximum Life as Fire Damage to nearby Enemies when Hit
Rare Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - on the Gloves it is very important to get correct Eldrtich Implicits, which will give you Ignite Proliferation. They should also provide you with maximum Life, Resistance, and Attributes. If you want to use a Secondary Setup, you can use Essence of Delirium to get 30% more DoT for Socketed Gems. 
Min. requirements:
+70 to maximum Life
+60% to Elemental Resistance
Ignites you inflict spread to other Enemies within a Radius of 12
Optional affixes:
Socketed Gems deal 30% more Damage over Time
Chaos Resistance
Rare Belt(Belt) Rare Belt - the Belt slot is also quite simple, you should look for maximum Life and Resistance. It can also boost your Attributes or increase your Life by up to 10%. The Stygian Vise is the best base as it allows for one additional Abyss Jewel. 
Min. requirements:
+70 to maximum Life
+80% to Elemental Resistance
Optional affixes:
% increased Life
Life Regeneration  
Abyss Jewel(Jewel) Rare Abyss Jewel - the additional Abyss Jewel you gain from the Socket in your Belt can grant you extra maximum Life, Resistance, Attribute, or raise your Damage a bit. It can also grant you Corrupted Blood Immunity through the special Corrupted Implicit. 
Min. requirements:
+30 to maximum Life
Recommended affixes:
17% increased Damage over Time while holding a Shield
Regenerate # Mana per second
Replica Dragonfang's Flight(Amulet) Replica Dragonfang's Flight - this Amulet grants you 3 levels for your Ancestral Warchief Totem, plenty of Life and Mana Reservation, and lowers the Attribute Requirements. 
+3 to Level of Ancestral Warchief Gem
+(10-15)% to all Elemental Resistances
(10-15)% increased Reservation Efficiency of Skills
Items and Gems have (15-10)% reduced Attribute Requirements
Recommended Anoint:
Dirty Techniques
Polaric Devastation(Ring) Polaric Devastation - by Covering Enemies in Ash you will increase the Fire Damage they Take without interacting with their Elemental Resistances. It also grants a bit of Resistances and makes your Ignite last longer. 
(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
Rare Ring(Ring) Rare Ring - on your second Ring you can get plenty of Damage through DoT Multiplier, increase to Fire or Elemental Damage, and minimum Frenzy Charge. On top of that it should provide you with maximum Life and Resistance.
Min. requirements:
+60 to maximum Life
+50% to Elemental Resistance
Optional affixes:
increased Fire/Elemental damage
Damage over Time Multiplier
+1 to minimum Frenzy Charge
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - Jewels can be very flexible. They can improve your maximum Life and Resistances, but they can also grant you tons of DoT Multiplier or increase your Burning Damage. 
Min. requirements:
increased maximum Life
Recommended affixes:
Fire Damage over Time Multiplier
increased Burning Damage
Damaging Ailments deal damage 5% faster
Watcher's Eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - with the correct Malovelence Aura modifier it can grant you an absurd amount of Damage, but it will also cost a lot. The cheaper variant will cost much less, and it is still better than regular Rare Jewel. 
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
Recommended Aura mods:
+(18-22)% to Damage over Time Multiplier while affected by Malevolence
Damaging Ailments you inflict deal Damage (10-15)% faster while affected by Malevolence
Brutal Restraint(Jewel) Brutal Restraint - it is an optional Setup. The Traitor Keystone obtainable through this Jewel will generate you Flask Charges if you leave some Flask Slots empty, and you can use the Soul Ripper Flask to generate Vaal Souls for your Ancestral Totem. 
Denoted service of (500-8000) dekhara in the akhara of (Balbala)
Passives in radius are Conquered by the Maraketh
Soul Ripper(Flask) Soul Ripper - this Flask can grant you Vaal Souls which you can use for your powerful Totem on demand. You would need the Traitor Keystone to make it any reliable during Boss fights. Aim for the lowest amount of Charges possible as you have to use all of them at once. 
+(-40-90) to Maximum Charges
Loses all Charges when you enter a new area
Consumes Maximum Charges to use
Gain Vaal Souls equal to Charges Consumed when used
Bottled Faith(Flask) Bottled Faith - it creates a large Consecrated Ground effect upon use, which regenerates your maximum Life and increases the Damage Enemies take from you. 
(30-15)% reduced Duration
Consecrated Ground created by this Flask has Tripled Radius
Consecrated Ground created during Effect applies (7-10)% increased Damage taken to Enemies
(100-150)% increased Critical Strike Chance against Enemies on Consecrated Ground during Effect
Taste of Hate(Flask) Taste of Hate - a defensive Flask that further converts the Physical Damage you take into Elemental. 
(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

Suggested Flasks:

  1. Life Flask with Bleeding Removal
  2. Quicksilver with Attack Speed bonus
  3. Granite Flask with Armour Rating bonus 
Bottled Faithgranite flasklife Flaskquicksilver flaskTaste of Hate

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