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Holy Flame Totem Chieftain Build

Holy Flame Totem Chieftain Build

A budget-friendly Totem Build that uses Holy Flame Totems with Physical to Fire Damage Conversion

Holy Flame Totem
Chieftain Build

Updated for Patch 3.21

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Guide notes
January 14, 2022
-Build created
May 17, 2023
-Updated for Patch 3.21
Build overview



Boss DPS:



Holy Flame Totem is a rather basic Totem Skill that repeatedly fires Projectiles at enemies, but it's also a Channeling Spell - it creates Projectiles not by performing multiple Attacks but by casting one Spell constantly. It deals Physical Damage, half of which is converted to Fire, the rest you will convert later via Ascendancy Keystones. Totems create Consecrated Grounds that you can benefit from, standing on it regenerates your Life and makes you immune to Curses. The build is extremely cheap and simple - it uses only the basic game mechanics such as Fire Damage Penetration or Damage Conversion. You don't need any Unique or Expensive items, you can assemble this build as you go through acts on SSF. It's recommended as a starter build or a build for new players.

You can achieve 6 to 7k of Maximum Life with a lot of Armour to mitigate Physical Damage. The build is a safe one to play due to its nature - Totems can be used to lure opponents away, while your character can stand behind safely on Consecrated Ground. Your Damage will consist of Fire Totem Spell Damage that's Converted from Physical. It's the best choice to pick Chieftain's Ascendancy - it specializes in Fire Damage and Totem Damage. Take Elemental Overload as your Crit. Damage isn't a focus of this build. The build has the potential to expand on damage later on - especially with a more expensive Weapon, Amulet, or Body Armour.

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1. Gameplay

If you've played a Totem build before then you'll have no problem getting used to its playstyle. Place Totems ahead of you to clear the path and progress through the map. You should have a source of Fire Exposure (it can be applied via Master of Fire Notable from Cluster Jewel, Awakened Fire Penetration Support Gem, or Wave of Conviction Spell) and Flammability Curse (can be cast manually, via Ring Affix, or Hextouch Support) to lower Fire Resistance of your enemies. Use Lightning Golem for increased Cast Speed, Molten Shell as a Guard Spell, and Flame Dash for a Travel Skill. You should also use Phase Tun to gain Phasing Buff and Cold Snap to generate Frenzy Charges. For Mana-reserving Spells use Herald of Ash, Herald of Purity, and Summon Skitterbots.

Full gameplay video:


This video was recorded pre 3.21 - new one should be released shortly

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • Deals good enough damage
  • It's safe to play - Totems can take hits for you
  • it's extremely cheap, but grows much stronger with more expensive items
  • it's not as good when compared to the expensive/meta builds
  • Totem builds have a specific playstyle that might not suit everyone


3. Leveling tips

Start with Holy Flame Totem, it's good for Leveling. You won't need to respec any of the Passive Skill Points on your tree as the build won't undergo any substantial changes. Equip items with Spell, Physical, or Fire Damage, your Totems will benefit from it. Keep your Elemental Resistances and Maximum Life High.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Totem setup
Holy Flame Totem Holy Flame Totem - it's available from level 1, you can start using it right away from then. It's a Skill suited for your build even at the early stages of the game
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - you deal much more Elemental Damage at the cost of not being able to ignite enemies with the Totems
Multiple Totems Support Multiple Totems Support - you can summon more Totems that deal less damage, but it's ultimately worth picking up
Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support - adds Fire Damage based on your Physical Damage
Auras setup
Herald of Purity Herald of Purity - increases your Physical Damage which is the source of the Fire Damage you deal
Clarity Clarity - Clarity is used for faster Mana Regeneration
Herald of Ash Herald of Ash - adds more Fire Damage based on your Physical Damage, and it increases your clear speed by burning enemies near the ones that are killed
Curses and Leap Slam setup
Flame Dash Flame Dash - use Flame Dash to move more efficient
Arcane Surge Support Arcane Surge Support - grants you a Buff that increases your Spell Damage and Mana Regen
Flammability Flammability - a curse that lowers the Fire Resistance of affected Opponents


Kill all three bandits and be rewarded with two additional Skill Points


Leveling Skill Trees:

34 Points Passive Tree
Head for the Ancestral Bond and Avatar of Fire Keystone, then pick some Maximum Life and Totem Damage.

66 Points Passive Tree
Now allocate Holy Dominion, Light of Divinity, Discipline and Training, Retribution, Iron Will, Constitution, Elemental Overload, Cruel Preparation, Fire Walker, and Heart and Soul


Recommended leveling items:

Le Heup of AllLe Heup of All - more Damage with Attacks, Attributes, and extra Elemental Resistances
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
GoldrimGoldrim - a Helmet to give you a lot of Elemental Resistances, great for leveling
+(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)
Tabula RasaTabula Rasa - allows you to six-link any setup from the start
Item has no level requirement and Energy Shield (Hidden)
Item has 6 White Sockets and is fully linked (Hidden)
Nycta's LanternNycta's Lantern - a great choice for this build, it grants the Battlemage which might be useful, especially early on
30% increased Elemental Damage
(150-200)% increased Physical Damage
Adds (76-98) to (161-176) Fire Damage
50% increased Light Radius

4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

103 Points Final Passive Tree (doesn't include Cluster Jewels)
115 Points Path of Building (PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Ngamahu
  2. Hinekora
  3. Arohongui
  4. Tukohama or Ramako


Major God: Soul of The Brine King: 1% You cannot be Stunned if you've been Stunned or Blocked a Stunning Hit in the past 2 seconds

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


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Holy Flame Totem setup
Holy Flame Totem Holy Flame Totem - It's your only source of Damage. It's a Spell Totem that fires Projectiles dealing Fire Damage, converted from Physical.
Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support - your Elemental Damage is increased, but Critical Strike Chance reduced - that's not an issue, it wasn't high in the first place
Multiple Totems Support Multiple Totems Support - you can summon more Totems to deal more Damage
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - disables Ignites you can cause by Holy Flame Totems and increases your Damage, you can still cause Ignites with Herald of Ash
Fire Penetration Support Fire Penetration Support  - your Fire deals more Damage by penetrating Fire Resistance, use the Awakened version to apply Exposure on Hit
Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support - adds Fire Damage to your Spell based on the Physical Damage
[UTILITY] Curse setup
Flammability Flammability - Use Flammability to reduce the Fire Resistance of the targets. You can also cast it automatically via Ring Affix
Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction - Used to apply Fire Exposure on Hit, which reduces Fire Resistance. You can achieve the same effect by allocating Master of Fire Notable from Cluster Jewel, or from Awakened Fire Penetration Support Gem
Hextouch Hextouch - Flammability is applied on Hit with Wave of Conviction
Increased Area of Effect Increased Area of Effect Support - Increases the AoE of Wave of Conviction
[UTILITY] Golem and Guard Spell setup
Molten Shell Molten Shell - your Guard Spell that reduces the damage you take, the more Armour you have the more efficient it is
Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem - Golem which grants you increased Cast and Attack Speed
Lifetap Support Lifetap Support - all linked Spells cost Life instead of Mana
Cast when Damage Taken Cast when Damage Taken - Supported Skill are cast automatically as you take a specific amount of damage, you can Level up all the Gems as you please
[UTILITY] Mana-reserving setup
(Socketed in Shield)
Anger Herald of Ash - it increases your Fire Damage and burns enemies based on the overkill Damage
Herald of Purity Herald of Purity - use it for 13% more Physical Damage
Summon Skitterbots Summon Skitterbots - Skitterbots Chill and Shock enemies reducing their mobility and increasing your Damage
[UTILITY] Golem and Exposure setup
Flame Dash Flame Dash - Movement Skill that enhances your mobility
Second Wind Support Second Wind Support - You can use Flame Dash more efficiently as it stores an additional Charge you can use
Lifetap Support Lifetap Support
[UTILITY] Cold Snap and Phase Run setup
Cold Snap Cold Snap - Cold Snap generates Frenzy Charges, you have 25% to gain one if an enemy dies in the Skill's AoE
Phase Run Phase Run - you're harder to detect and move faster, your melee Physical Damage is increased, and you gain Phasing Buff
Lifetap Support Lifetap Support
[UTILITY] Clarity
Clarity Clarity - Use this Aura to regenerate your Mana faster


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6. Gear Setup

It's a Physical to Fire Spell Totem Build, to increase your Damage look for added and/or increased Fire/Elemental/Physical Damage, preferably to Spells only as the more specific mods are typically better. If you can afford some better equipment then look for mods that could increase the Gem Level of your Holy Flame Totem, you can find global modifiers to Fire, Physical, or Spell Gem Levels as Amulet or Sceptre Mods, each can have one or two of such affixes, but you can also get more general local modifiers on your Body Armour, where your Main DPS setup is located anyway. Try to get some Dexterity on your gear, it will be needed to increase the Gem Level of Phase Run. There are no mandatory Unique Items, and the rare ones are cheap so you should have no problem with gearing up your character.

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. to cap your Elemental Resistances
  2. Maximum Life
  3. increased or added Totem, Elemental, Physical, or Fire Damage with Spells
  4. Spell Damage
  5. Gem Level of Holy Flame Totem
  6. Dexterity
  7. Area of Effect and Area Damage
  8. Fire Penetration
  9. Chaos Resistance
Rare Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - try to get as much Maximum Life and Elemental Resistances as you can, not much else is needed
Min. requirements:
+60 to maximum Life
+50% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Armour
Nearby Enemies have -#% to Fire Resistance
Elemental Resistances
Adds Fire Damage to Spells
Helmet enchantments:
Holy Flame Totem fires 2 additional Projectiles
Sceptre(Weapon) Rare Sceptres or Wands - Scepters and Wands can provide a lot of Elemental Damage and Spell Damage, both of which are important. Additionally, look for Gem Level for your Holy Flame Totem.
Min. requirements:
100% increased Spell Fire Damage in total
Optional affixes:
increased Spell Damage
increased Fire Damage
increased Damage per Endurance Charge
adds Fire Damage to Spells
+1 to Level of all Physical or Fire Spell Skill Gems
+1 to Level of all Spell Skill Gems
Shield (Weapon) Rare Shield - focus on Maximum Life and Elemental Resistances. You should aim to get a piece with Increased Reservation Efficiency which will allow you to use additional skills with Mana Reservation Cost (in this case, Skitterbots)
Min. requirements:
Socketed Gems have #% increased Reservation Efficiency
+90 to maximum Life
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Gain an Endurance, Frenzy, or Power charge when you Block
increased Spell Damage
increased Armour
Rare Body Armour(Boots) Rare Body Armour - besides Life and Resistances, look for increased Level of Socketed Gems that would benefit your only Flame Totem
Min. requirements:
+100 to maximum Life
+60% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
You can apply an additional Curse
Enemies you Kill have a chance to Explode, dealing a tenth of their maximum Life as Physical Damage
increased Area of Effect
+1 to Level of Socketed Strength Gems
+1 to Level of Socketed Active Skill Gems
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - Maximum Life, increased Movement Speed, and Elemental Resistances are obligatory, and after that, you can start to seek the more luxurious mods such as Tailwind
Min. requirements:
+60 to maximum Life
25% increased Movement Speed
+50% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
You have Tailwind if you have dealt a Critical Strike Recently
Rare Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - get more Maximum Life and Elemental Resistances
Min. requirements:
+70 to maximum Life
+70% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Spell Damage
Culling Strike
Rare Belt(Belt) Rare Belt - a Belt granting maximum Life and Elemental Resistances should be sufficient
Min. requirements:
+100 to maximum Life
+70% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Damage
increased Maximum Life
Rare Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - a double influenced Amulet that grants you +2 to the level of Holy Flame Totem with some Extra Fire Damage on top of that might be expensive, for a start just try to get Maximum Life and Elemental Resistances
Min. requirements:
Gain 15% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage
+70 to maximum Life
+70% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
+1 to Level of all Strength Skill Gems
+1 to Level of all Physical or Fire Skill Gems
Recommended Anointments:
Heart of Flame
Rare Ring(Ring) Rare Ring - Rare Rings are good enough, but you can swap them later for Circle of Anguish, look here for generic defensive affixes
Min. requirements:
+80% to Elemental Resistances
+60 to Maximum Life
Optional affixes:
Curse Enemies with Flammability on Hit
Circle of Anguish(Ring) Circle of Anguish - The best Ring for this build, the mods to look for an increased Buff Effect and increased Fire Damage
<One to three random Synthesis implicit modifiers>
+(20-30) to Strength
Adds (20-25) to (26-35) Fire Damage
+(20-30)% to Fire Resistance
<Two Random Herald of Ash modifier>
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - increase your Maximum Life and Fire Damage for Spells, get missing attributes, and Resistances

Recommended affixes:
7% increased maximum Life
Elemental Resistances
increased Fire, Physical, Elemental Damage with Spells

Watcher's Eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - you're only using Clarity, try to get a mod such as increased Mana Recovery Rate or Damage taken while affected by Clarity Recouped as Mana
(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 Jewels - try to increase your Physical, Fire, or Spell Damage with these
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Battle-Hardened
1 Added Passive Skill is Force Multiplier
1 Added Passive Skill is Iron Breaker
1 Added Passive Skill is Burden Projection
1 Added Passive Skill is Practiced Caster
1 Added Passive Skill is Sap Psyche
Medium Cluster Jewels(Jewel) Medium Cluster Jewels - Get both of the mentioned Notables for permanent Onslaught and Arcane Surge
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Ancestral Inspiration
1 Added Passive Skill is Sleepless Sentries

Suggested Flasks:

  1. Quicksilver Flask with Bleeding immunity/removal
  2. Life Flask with random ailment removal
  3. Mana Flask with random ailment removal
  4. Basalt Flask with random ailment removal
  5. Granite Flask with random ailment removal
Mana FlaskGranite FlaskQuickilver FlaskLife FlaskBasalt Flask

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