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HoWA Molten Strike CI Juggernaut build

HoWA Molten Strike CI Juggernaut build

One of the best Path of Exile builds ever made with unlimited scaling with high-end equipment

Hand of Wisdom and Action Molten Strike
Energy Shield/Chaos Inoculation
Juggernaut build

Updated for Patch 3.14

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Guide notes
June 23, 2021
-Updated for Path 3.14


Molten Strike even after nerfs still remains one of the strongest skills in the game, especially versus Bosses. This time we are going unconventional way for this build because it's built around Hand of Wisdom and Action, which results in Chaos Inoculation Energy Shield character. Juggernaut is the best choice for Melee-focused ES build because it solves all problems that typical ES attack builds have. Ascendancy grants everything we need for our build to work flawlessly - Stun Immunity, a lot of Attack Speed, Endurance Charges which helps with Physical mitigation and reduced Damage taken. Cyclopean Coil will make us immune to Ignite and Shock, so we can focus on more damage-oriented Flasks like Atziri's Promise, Vessel of Vinktar, or The Wise Oak. On top of that, we are using Incandescent Heart, which neglects a lot of Elemental Damage, thanks to a conversion to Chaos Damage which we are immune to. With investment and reaching around 11-12k Energy Shield, this build is unkillable and you can kill Shaper without any problems but it's an expensive one - it stacks Attributes such as Intelligence and Accuracy Rating while still using one of the most expensive Uniques in the game.

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1. Gameplay

For clearing Maps, we are using Molten Strike with Ancestral Call attached to it, so we can clear packs in one shot. Our main movement skills to travel through maps quickly is Whirling Blades and Blood Rage will generate Frenzy Charges which are going to pump our movement speed by a lot. Versus bosses, we are popping all flasks and Ancestral Protector. If the boss doesn't have a phase with damage immunity, he should die in a matter of seconds.

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • insane Defenses thanks to tons of Energy Shield and Juggernaut Ascendancy
  • great mobility
  • can clear all content in the game
  • Immunity to most debuffs (Temporal Chains, Ignite, Shock)
  • good clear speed
  • vulnerable to Elemental Reflect Map Mods


3. Leveling tips

For leveling, we are going to use Molten Strike as well and every Support Gem linked to it will be used in the endgame. During leveling, it's recommended to use Life Gear, before you switch to full Energy Shield because it's easier to regenerate with Life Flasks. If you have enough gear with Energy Shield to make your play comfortable, you can do the switch at any time.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Molten Strike setup
Molten Strike Molten Strike - our main skill that is available since the beginning
Ancestral Call Support Ancestral Call Support - it will mimic our Molten Strike skill on nearby enemies
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - increases Elemental Damage
Elemental Damage with Attacks Support Elemental Damage with Attacks Support - boosts Elemental Damage of Molten Strike
Utility Gems
Shield Charge Shield Charge - your main Movement Skill
Herald of Ash Herald of Ash - aura that provides Fire Damage and Ignites enemies 
Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector - totem that boosts our Attack Speed


We recommend killing all Bandits for two additional Passive Skill Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

34 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Born to Fight 2) Art of The Gladiator 3) Retribution 4) Elemental Overload

77 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: Allocate Point Blank Keystone and then Head for the Claw-oriented Cluster as shown

Recommended leveling items:

Goldrim Goldrim - one of the best leveling helmets in Path of Exile, will fix your Elemental Resistances during 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)
Belt of the Deceiver Belt of the Deceiver - powerful belt, that provides Life, Resistances and increased Damage
+(25-35) to Strength
(15-25)% increased Global Physical Damage
You take 30% reduced Extra Damage from Critical Strikes
+(30-40) to maximum Life
+(10-15)% to all Elemental Resistances
Nearby Enemies are Intimidated
Wall of BramblesWall of Brambles - one of the strongest leveling chests. Provides so much Armour you are almost immune to Physical damage during leveling
Adds 2 to 4 Physical Damage to Attacks
+2000 to Armour
+(12-20) to maximum Life
-2 Physical Damage taken from Attack Hits
40% of Melee Physical Damage taken reflected to Attacker
Le Heup of AllLe Heup of All - these Rings provide everything - Attributes, Damage, and Resistances. Perfect choice for the entire leveling process
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
RedbeakRedbeak - great leveling sword which you can use since level 1
40% increased Global Accuracy Rating
100% increased Damage when on Low Life
50% increased Physical Damage
Adds 2 to 6 Physical Damage
10% increased Attack Speed
+(20-30) to maximum Life
+2 Life gained for each Enemy hit by Attacks
The Tempestuous SteelThe Tempestuous Steel - you can use it since level 20. It will add a lot of additional Elemental Damage and Elemental Resistances penetration
40% increased Global Accuracy Rating
Adds (5-8) to (15-20) Physical Damage
(8-14)% increased Attack Speed
Hits can't be Evaded
Attacks with this Weapon Penetrate 30% Elemental Resistances
Gain 15% of Physical Attack Damage as Extra Fire Damage
Gain 15% of Physical Attack Damage as Extra Lightning Damage


4. Final Skill tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

122 Points Final Skill Tree(does not include Cluster Jewels)
122 Points Path of Building(PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Undeniable
  2. Unstoppable
  3. Unflinching
  4. Unbreakable

Upgrade Soul of Arakaali as soon as possible for increased Recovery of Energy Shield

Major God: Soul of Arakaali 5% reduced Damage taken from Damage Over Time; 10% chance to Avoid Lightning Damage when Hit
Upgrade: 50% increased Recovery of Life and Energy Shield if you've stopped taking Damage Over Time Recently

Minor God: Soul of Gruthkul 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each Hit you've taken Recently up to a maximum of 5%


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Molten Strike setup
Molten Strike Molten Strike - primary Attack Skill used in this build
Ancestral Call Support Ancestral Call Support - greatly improves your AoE by creating a short-lived "minion" that will attack nearby enemies as you do
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - grants very high bonus Elemental Damage, but will prevent Molten Strike from applying Elemental Ailments. Has Awakened version
Elemental Damage with Attacks Support Elemental Damage with Attacks Support - grants very high bonus Elemental Damage. It has an Awakaneded version
Damage on Full Life Support Damage on Full Life Support - since we are playing CI ES build we are always on Full Life thus this gem provides an insane Damage boost
Multistrike Support Multistrike Support - you can replace Ancestral Call versus Bosses for higher single-target DPS. Has Awakened version too
[UTILITY] Auras setup
Wrath Summon Skitterbots - Skitterbots are one of the most useful minions that shock and chill your opponents
Precision Precision - low-level Precision will reserve little to no mana while still granting nice buffs
Blood and Sand Blood and Sand - More Melee Damage or more AoE for Melee skills
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - reduces Mana Reserved by supported Auras
[UTILITY] Totem and Blood Rage setup
Ancestral Protector Ancestral Protector - totem that boosts our Attack Speed
Blood Rage Blood Rage - grants increased Attack Speed and Frenzy Charge generation
Empower Support Empower Support - increases Gem Level of linked Gems
[UTILITY/CURSE] Immortal Call setup
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - will auto-cast supported spells after a certain amount of damage is taken by the player, keep it at level 1 
Conductivity Conductivity - a curse that lowers Lightning Resistance of your enemies
Hextouch Hextouch Support - enemies hit by Wave of Conviction will be cursed with a linked Curse - Conductivity in our case
Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction - it will reduce Lightning Resistance of your opponents

[UTILITY/CURSE] Immortal Call setup

Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - will auto-cast supported spells after a certain amount of damage is taken by the player. Do not upgrade it above level 1
Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem - this Golem grants you Critical Strike Chance and Attack Speed - level 1
Immortal Call Immortal Call - grants brief Physical Damage immunity. Keep this Gem at level 1
Discipline Discipline - adds a lot of flat Energy Shield that scales extremely well with increased Energy Shield from Intelligence, use Vaal version if you can
[MOBILITY] Whirling Blades setup
Whirling Blades Whirling Blades - your main Movement Skill 
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support  - faster movement with Shield Charge
Fortify Support Fortify Support  - after hitting an enemy with Whirling Blades you will gain Fortify buff that will reduce damage taken from hits

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5. Gear Setup

This Molten Strike Juggernaut is a moderately expensive build. While it offers quite reasonable stats without very costly Items, if you want to scale your damage, there is no upper limit to how much Exalted Orbs you can sink into it. Below you will find all the recommended gear. We have also included end-game Mods which should be looked for on Items to reach this build's maximum potential.

This build is quite easy to upgrade,  you just want to add more Intelligence on Rare equipment, and find gear with the "end-game" Mods listed below. There are a lot of other useful Mods that were introduced in Patch 3.9 that you may find on your gear, however, we will not list them all to keep this guide easier to read. If you get to the point where it matters for you, you should be fully aware of what Mods you can use.


Stat priorities on items:

  1. Intelligence
  2. Energy Shield
  3. Elemental Resistances
  4. Elemental Damage
  5. Lightning Penetration
  6. Attack Speed, Attack Damage, Critical Strike
Rare Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - this is our best choice, grants a lot of Energy Shield and Intelligence
Min. requirements:
250 Energy Shield
45 Intelligence
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
End-game affixes:
% increased Intelligence (Hunter Mod)
Nearby Enemies have -9% to Lightning Resistance (Metallic Fossil)
Helmet enchantments:
Molten Strike fires 2 additional projectiles
Blood Rage grants an additional 12% increased Attack Speed
Hand of Wisdom and Action(Weapon) Hand of Wisdom and Action - nothing to say here. Our character is built around this Weapon. Try to get one with maximum Intelligence roll and you can also Corrupt it for increased Attack Speed
+46 Life gained for each Enemy hit by Attacks
(8-12)% increased Dexterity
(8-12)% increased Intelligence
Adds 1 to 10 Lightning Damage to Attacks with this Weapon per 10 Intelligence
1% increased Attack Speed per 25 Dexterity
(25-30)% increased Elemental Damage with Attack Skills
Shield(Shield) Rare Energy Shield - the same as the helmet, we focus on the highest Intelligence and Energy Shield
Min. requirements:
250 Energy Shield
45 Intelligence
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
End-game affixes:
Gain (11–13)% of Lightning Damage as Extra Chaos Damage
10% chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill (Shuddering Fossil)
Atziri's Reflection(Shield) Atziri's Reflection - has very high base Energy Shield, high Int, All Elemental Resistances and Curse Immunity/Reflection making it one of the best (and the most expensive) options here
6% increased Movement Speed
+(40-60) to Intelligence
(180-200)% increased Evasion Rating
+(180-200) to maximum Energy Shield
+(20-30)% to all Elemental Resistances
Curse Reflection
Unaffected by Curses
(15-20)% increased Effect of your Curses
Incandescent Heart(Body Armour) Incandescent Heart - insane armor for this build. While it doesn't provide much Energy Shield, it boosts our damage by a lot and reduces Elemental Damage Taken by 25%
(220-240)% increased Armour and Energy Shield
+(80-90) to maximum Life
(0.8-1)% of Attack Damage Leeched as Life
Gain (10-20)% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage
25% of Elemental Damage from Hits taken as Chaos Damage
(20-30)% increased Light Radius
Light Radius is based on Energy Shield instead of Life
Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - while it's very expensive, it will provide the highest damage and defense boost
Min. requirements:
15% Increased Maximum Energy Shield
60 Intelligence
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
End-game affixes:
1% increased Damage per 15 Intelligence (Shaper/Crusader Mod)
%Increased Intelligence/Attributes (Shaper/Crusader Mod)
Damage Penetrates (8–10)% Lightning Resistance (The Crusader Mod)
Astramentis(Amulet) Astramentis - a cheap alternative to the high-end Rare Amulet
+(10-16) to all Attributes
+(80-100) to all Attributes
-4 Physical Damage taken from Attacks
Recommended Anointments:
  • Tribal Fury
  • Whispers of Doom
  • Transfiguration of Soul
  • Primeval Force
  • Command of the Elements
  • Heart of Thunder
Rare Ring(Ring) Rare Opal Ring - definitely the best option for this build. Grants Intelligence and Resistances
Min. requirements:
40 Maximum Energy Shield
70% Total Elemental Resistances
40 Intelligence
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Curse Enemies with Level 8 Conductivity on Hit (Delve Mod)
Added Lightning Damage to Attacks
Elemental Damage with Attacks
Rare boots(Boots) Rare Energy Shield Boots - get a pair with the highest maximum Energy Shield and Intelligence bonuses you can afford
Min. requirements:
150 Energy Shield
45 Intelligence
60% Total Elemental Resistances
30% Increased Movement Speed
Boots enchantment:
16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently
Cyclopean Coil(Belt) Cyclopean Coil - mandatory Belt for this build. Provides Damage, Attributes, Shock, and Ignite immunity. Keep in mind, that Dexterity should be your lowest attribute
+(25-40) to maximum Life
+(60-80) to maximum Life
(5-15)% increased Attributes
Cannot be Frozen if Dexterity is higher than Intelligence
Cannot be Ignited if Strength is higher than Dexterity
Cannot be Shocked if Intelligence is higher than Strength
1% increased Damage per 5 of your lowest Attribute
Shaper's Touch(Gloves) Shaper's Touch - insane Gloves for attribute stacking build. Grants a lot of Accuracy and Energy Shield, look for Corrupted Implicits since it's cheap
(80-120)% increased Armour and Energy Shield
+4 Accuracy Rating per 2 Intelligence
+1 Life per 4 Dexterity
+2 Mana per 4 Strength
2% increased Energy Shield per 10 Strength
2% increased Evasion Rating per 10 Intelligence
2% increased Melee Physical Damage per 10 Dexterity
Cobalt Jewel(Jewels) Rare Jewels - here we are fixing our Resistances. If you are capped then you can focus on more damage oriented Jewels
Recommended affixes:
increased maximum Energy Shield
increased Damage with Claws
Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Abyss Jewel(Jewels) Abyss Jewels - if you don't have any other source to give you Onslaught, you should have at least one Gem with that affix
Recommended affixes:
Maximum Energy Shield
Optional affixes:
Added Lightning Damage to Attacks/Claw Attacks
Chance to gain Onslaught on kill for 4 seconds
Fertile Mind(Jewels) Fertile Mind - grants a lot of Intelligence. Place it next to Fervour Notable
+(16-24) to Intelligence
Dexterity from Passives in Radius is Transformed to Intelligence
Brute Force Solution(Jewels) Brute Force Solution - grants a lot of Intelligence. Place it near Agnostic Keystone
+(16-24) to Intelligence
Strength from Passives in Radius is Transformed to Intelligence
Natural Affinity(Jewels) Natural Affinity - a Unique Cluster Jewel that grants Nature's Patience Keystone - for more Damage and Less Damage Taken while standing still - for example, while fighting bosses
Adds Nature's Patience
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewels) Large Cluster Jewel - it's important to have one near Point Blank Keystone to allocate Split Personalities there. Fan of Blades is especially good here.
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Scintillating Idea
1 Added Passive Skill is Storm Drinker
1 Added Passive Skill is Widespread Destruction
1 Added Passive Skill is Feed the Fury
1 Added Passive Skill is Fuel the Fight
1 Added Passive Skill is Martial Prowess
1 Added Passive Skill is Drive the Destruction
1 Added Passive Skill is Fan of Blades
Split Personality(Jewels) Split Personality - Great Jewels for stacking a certain statistic - in this case, Intelligence and Accuracy Rating. Place two of them in the Large Cluster Jewel next to Point Blank Keystone for maximum efficiency.
This Jewel's Socket has 25% increased effect per Allocated Passive Skill between
it and your Class' starting location
<Two random modifiers>
Watcher's Eye(Jewels) Watcher's Eye - the final touch of the build, look for mods matching your Auras - Precision, Discipline, maybe Clarity
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>

Atziri's Promise(Flask) Atziri's Promise - grants a lot of additional damage and leech

2% of Chaos Damage Leeched as Life during Flask effect
Gain (15-20)% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
Gain (10-15)% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect

Dying Sun(Flask) Dying Sun - additional projectiles are insane for Molten Strike's DPS output

(-10-10)% increased Charges used
(15-25)% increased Area of Effect during Flask Effect
Skills fire 2 additional Projectiles during Flask Effect
The Wise Oak(Flask) The Wise Oak - grants additional Lightning Penetration. Remember to have Lightning Resistance higher than other ones
During Flask Effect, 10% reduced Damage taken of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is lowest
During Flask Effect, Damage Penetrates (10-15)% Resistance of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is highest
Vessel of Vinktar(Flask) Vessel of Vinktar - a great boost to our Lightning Damage. It also Shocks nearby enemies
(80-100)% increased Charges used
Shocks nearby Enemies during Flask effect, causing 10% increased Damage taken
You are Shocked during Flask effect, causing 50% increased Damage taken
Adds (25-35) to (110-130) Lightning Damage to Attacks during Flask effect
20% of Lightning Damage Leeched as Life during Flask effect
Bottled Faith(Flask) Bottled Faith - a flask too good to skip, especially for Crit builds, even with Elemental Overload builds like this one
40% increased Damage
Creates Consecrated Ground on Use
(30-50)% increased Duration
Consecrated Ground created by this Flask has Tripled Radius
+(1-2)% to Critical Strike Chance against Enemies on Consecrated Ground during Effect
Consecrated Ground created during Effect applies (7-10)% increased Damage taken to Enemies
Atziri's PromiseDying SunThe Wise OakVessel of VinktarBottled Faith

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