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Incinerate Chieftain/Marauder Starter build

Incinerate Chieftain/Marauder Starter build

Durable spell-caster build based on the Chieftain class for its massive Fire Damage bonuses

Chieftain Starter build 

Updated for Patch 3.7

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Guide notes
June 12, 2019
-Build created
June 15, 2019
-Added gameplay video


Our Incinerate Chieftain is a very durable Fire spell-caster who offers very high damage, and solid defenses while on a very reasonable budget. Since this build requires no specific items, it's also a great choice for a League Starter build or the SSF mode. Now with the changes to Chieftain Ascendancy from Patch 3.7, this build allows taking down Guardians and Shaper on a very reasonable budget.   

You can also check our other Path of Exile builds 

1. Gameplay

In its' simplest form, this build is about face-tanking monsters and channeling your Incinerate in all directions to make everything die in Fiery explosions. However, to deal with higher Tier content (Tier 15+ Map Bosses, Guardians, Shaper, etc.) you will have to manually create additional corpses to trigger Volatile Dead explosions, and actually avoid high damage spikes even with over 8000 Life Pool. This build doesn't offer much damage mitigation expect for Life, Life Leech and Flasks bonuses, which may not be enough to soak up all the damage. You have to learn to position yourself; use Shield Charge to places which will safely allow you to channel your Incinerate all the way up to 8 stacks and releasing it. 

0:06 Tier 14 Double Boss Moon Temple
0:37 Tier 15 Summit
1:09 Tier 14 Palace
1:41 Tier 16 Chimera Guardian
2:13 Tier 16 Hydra Guardian
2:38 Tier 14 Acid Caverns

The video was recorded on a level 89 Chieftain on Standard Softcore, wearing Belly of the Beast and Kaom's Roots

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • very high DPS
  • good clear speed
  • very high Life Pool and Life Leech
  • all content Viable
  • no specific item requirements
  • smooth leveling
  • lack of mobility
  • can't do Elemental Reflect Maps


3. Leveling tips

Leveling can get a little bit tricky if you are playing on SSF Mode since most of the Spell Gems will not be available for the Marauder Class. I would recommend leveling up with Holy Flame Totems until level 38 when you can finally use (and freely purchase them from Vendors) the Incinerate and Cast While Channelling Gems. After switching to Incinerate, you will have to remove the Ancestral Bond Passive - though you can still use the Totem for extra DPS, but you will be limited to just one of them.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Holy Flame Totem setup
Holy Flame Totem Holy Flame Totem - Chieftain's favorite Totem Spell which fires multiple projectiles. Holy Flame Totem
Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support - grants additional Fire Damage to your Totems' projectiles
Infused Channelling Support Infused Channelling Support - greatly increases your Totem's DPS
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - increases Elemental Damage greatly, but makes it unable to inflict Ailments
Incinerate setup
Incinerate Incinerate - the primary spell used in this build, so it's just natural that you want to level it up as soon as possible
Infused Channelling Support Infused Channelling Support
Cast while Channelling Cast while Channelling Support - while channelling Incinerate, Volatile Dead will be cast every 0.35 seconds (on Gem level 20)
Volatile Dead Volatile Dead - makes nearby corpses explode, and creates Magma Orbs which chase enemies and exploding on impact
Utility Gems
Clarity Clarity - increases your Mana Regeneration Rate. It's extremely useful before you get Blood Magic
Herald of Ash Herald of Ash - grants extra Fire Damage and AoE explosions based on your overkill damage
Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem - this Minion, while active, will grant bonuses to your Attack and Cast Speed. It's the recommended Golem for this build
Shield Charge Shield Charge - the recommended Movement Skill used for this build



We recommend killing all the Bandits for two additional Passive Points

Leveling Skill Trees:

34 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Heart of the Warrior 2) Discipline and Training 3) Devotion 4) Ancestral Bond

66 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Elemental Overload 2) Breath of Flames 3) Heart of Flames 3) Fire Walker
Remember to refund Ancestral Bond if you decide to switch to Incinerate at some point

Recommended leveling items:

Karui ChargeKarui Charge - amazing leveling Amulets which benefits your Holy Flame Totem's Damage. It also grants bonus Movement Speed which is a critical leveling stat
+(20-30) to Dexterity
+(20-30) to Strength
(5-10)% increased Attack Speed
+100 to Accuracy Rating
30% increased Projectile Speed
10% increased Movement Speed
30% increased Projectile Damage
GoldrimGoldrim - one of the best leveling Helmets in the game, which covers up most of your needs for Elemental Resistances 
+(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)
Shade of SolarisShade of Solaris - insane level 30 Wand which will carry you all the way to Maps. It is very expensive, and if you are casually playing it will be most likely beyond your reach
(17-21)% increased Spell DamageGain (10-20)% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage
Critical Strikes deal no Damage
200% increased Spell Damage if you've dealt a Critical Strike in the past 8 seconds
Abberath's HornAbberath's Horn - another interesting Wand which is much easier to acquire. On top of increasing your Fire Spell Damage, it grants decent Life Recovery 
(10-14)% increased Spell Damage(20-30)% increased Fire Damage
Adds (4-6) to (8-12) Fire Damage to Spells
(40-60)% increased Global Critical Strike Chance
+10 Life gained on Killing Ignited Enemies
25% reduced Ignite Duration on Enemies
Lochtonial CaressLochtonial Caress - one of the most popular leveling Gloves which grant high bonuses to Attack and Cast Speed - two stats you will be missing mostly on lower levels
(10-15)% increased Attack Speed
(10-15)% increased Cast Speed
+(20-30) to maximum Life
(15-10)% reduced maximum Mana
10% chance to gain a Power, Frenzy or Endurance Charge on Kill
Rain of SplintersRain of Splinters - grab one if you are leveling up with Holy Flame Totems. Rain of Splinters greatly increases their effective DPS
(50-30)% reduced Totem Damage
Totems fire 2 additional Projectiles


4. Final Skill tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

116 Final Points Skill Tree
116 Points Path of Building (PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Ramako, Sun's Light
  2. Hinekora, Death's Fury
  3. Tawhoa, Forest's Strength
  4. Valako, Storm's Embrace


Major God: Soul of Lunaris 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%; 1% increased Movement Speed for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%

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] Incinerate/Volatile Dead
Incinerate Incinerate - potent Channelled/AoE Spell which builds up stacks to deal increased damage with Hits and Ailments. Upon release, a very powerful Wave is cast which deals 500% increased damage
Cast while Channelling Cast while Channelling Support - while channelling Incinerate, supported spells will be cast automatically. In this case, it's Volatile Dead which requires you to manually create extra Corpses with Desecrate
Volatile Dead Volatile Dead - if you get a hold of this build's core mechanic, Volatile Dead will melt anything including end-game Bosses
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - greatly increases Elemental Damage but makes Incinerate unable to Ignite enemies
Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support - insane DPS boost at the exchange of lower radius
Fire Penetration Support Fire Penetration Support - makes supported skills ignore some of your target's Resistance to Fire
[UTILITY] Vaal Righteous Fire
Vaal Righteous Fire Vaal Righteous Fire - grants very high bonus Spell Damage while active. It also deals a moderate amount of DoT on its own
Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support - increases the duration of the Vaal bonus
Efficacy Support Efficacy Support - grants increased Spell Damage, Damage over Time, and a slight bonus to supported skill's duration
[MOBILITY] Shield Charge
Leap Slam Shield Charge - your primary Movement Skill which increases your mobility
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support - increases Movement Speed with Leap Slam
Fortify Support Fortify Support - grants extra damage reduction buff on Melee Hits with Shield Charge
[UTILITY] Desecrate
Desecrate Desecrate - a mandatory Spell for this build. It creates plenty of Corpses which will be detonated while you channel Incinerate for massive burst damage
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support - increases the Casting Speed of your Desecrate making it much more smooth to use
Spell Cascade Support Spell Cascade Support - makes Desecrate affect two additional areas increasing the number of Corpses created
[UTILITY] Golem setup
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - casts your Golem automatically after you take a certain amount of damage
Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem - increases your Attack and Cast Speed while active
[UTILITY] Herald of Ash
(preferably in Essence Worm)
Herald of Ash Herald of Ash - grants very high bonus Fire Spell Damage and causes AoE explosions when you kill enemies
Anger Anger - grants added Fire Damage to your Spells making it the best Aura for this build. With the Mortal Conviction, it does not Reserve any Mana
[UTILITY] Enduring Cry
Enduring Cry Enduring Cry - War Cry skill which helps you generate Endurance Charges for extra defense and damage from Valako, Storm's Embrace Passive
[UTILITY] Blood Rage
Blood Rage Blood Rage - lets you generate Frenzy Charges for high DPS bonus and increases your Attack Speed for better mobility


5. Gear Setup

In this section, we are presenting all the recommended gear for our Incinerate Chieftain build. We have decided to include mainly budget and easily accessible gear so that you have a clear idea what to get if you have chosen this build for your League Starter. What's most important about this, is the fact that all the items can be replaced with Rare Items with bonuses to Life, Elemental Resistances, and Fire Spell Damage.

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Our recommended items will:

  1. Cap your resistances 
  2. Give you enough DPS/Life to deal with all the content in the game

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Fire Spell Damage
  4. Cast Speed
Rare Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - aim for the highest Life bonus and some extra Dexterity for Gem requirements
Min. requirements:
100 maximum Life
30 Dexterity
35% Cold Resistance
35% Lightning Resistance
Helmet enchantments:
Incinerate has +2 to maximum stages
Doryani's Catalyst(Weapon) Doryani's Catalyst - very powerful and inexpensive Sceptre for this build. It also grants a high Life Leech bonus
32% increased Elemental Damage
Socketed Gems are Supported by Level 20 Elemental Proliferation
Adds (65-85) to (100-160) Physical Damage
(11-15)% increased Attack Speed
(6-10)% increased Cast Speed
(30-40)% increased Global Critical Strike Chance
0.2% of Elemental Damage Leeched as Life
(80-100)% increased Elemental Damage
Rare Shield(Shield) Rare Shield - we are looking for extra Spell Damage and a high Life bonus
Min. requirements:
90 maximum Life
60 Fire Spell Damage
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Unyielding Flame(Shield) Unyielding Flame - quite a decent pick for lower Tier Maps and farming. It grants high Attack and Cast Speed bonuses that will greatly increase your clear speed
+12% to all Elemental Resistances
Trigger Commandment of Inferno on Critical Strike
(50-70)% increased Global Critical Strike Chance
+(50-70) to maximum Life
+(20-30)% to Fire Resistance
(8-12)% increased Attack Speed if you've dealt a Critical Strike Recently
(8-12)% increased Cast Speed if you've dealt a Critical Strike Recently
Belly of the Beast(Body Armour) Belly of the Beast - the best defense-wise Armor for this build. Sadly, getting the right Socket's on it may be very expensive
(150-200)% increased Armour
(30-40)% increased maximum Life
+(10-15)% to all Elemental Resistances
50% increased Flask Life Recovery rate
Extra gore
Rare Body Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - grants a lower Life bonus, but if you take Armour/Energy Shield base, it will be much cheaper, and easier to get the right Socket colors
Min. requirements:
100 maximum Life
20% Fire Resistance
20% Cold Resistance
20% Lightning Resistance
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - high Life and Movement Speed should be your priority
Min. requirements:
80 maximum Life
30% Movement Speed
30 Dexterity
Optional affixes:
​​​​​​Elemental Resistances
Kaom's Roots(Boots) Kaom's Roots - this pair provides insane defensive utility by giving you 200 additional Life and Stun immunity
Has no Sockets
Cannot be Knocked Back
+(150-200) to maximum Life
Action Speed cannot be modified to below base value
Unwavering Stance
Boot enchantment:
0.6% of Damage Leeched as Life and Mana if you've Killed Recently
16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Stygian Vise - you can pick any Belt base but the extra Abyssal Socket grants an unmatched bonus
Min. requirements:
80 maximum Life
60% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Elemental/Fire Damage
Flask Effect Duration
Rare Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - you have to fix your Dexterity for Gem requirements and Elemental Resistances with the Amulet. Make sure to get some extra Life as well
Min. requirements:
75 maximum Life
40 Dexterity
15% Spell Damage
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Two-Stone Ring(Ring) Rare Ring - we recommend getting a Ring which makes you Curse enemies with level 5 Flammability on Hit from Delve

Min. requirements:
50 maximum Life
30 Dexterity
Curse enemies with level 5 Flammability on Hit
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Spell Damage

Opal Ring(Ring) Essence Worm - allows you to use Herald of Ash with no Mana Reservation Cost. You regular Aura (Anger) Reserves no Mana thanks to the Mortal Conviction Passive so don't socket it here
Has 1 Socket
+2 to Level of Socketed Aura Gems
Socketed Gems Reserve No Mana
40% increased Mana Reserved
Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - again, mainly defensive stats and possibly Dexterity if you are still short
Min. requirements:
100 maximum Life
30 Dexterity
60% Total Elemental Resistances
Glove enchantment:
Commandment of Flame
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - if you can't find proper Abyssal Jewels which grant higher DPS bonuses, you are still good to go with a regular Jewels with increases to Life and damage
Recommended affixes:
maximum Life
Fire/Spell/Area Damage
Optional affixes:
Cast Speed
Abyss Jewel(Jewel) Abyss Jewel - you should prioritize Abyssal Jewels with flat added Fire Damage to Spells over regular Jewels
Recommended affixes:
maximum Life
added Fire Damage to Spells
added Fire Damage to Spells while holding Shield
Optional affixes:
% increased Damage if you have killed recently
Attack and Cast Speed
Other suggested Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching (Bleeding immunity)
  2. Ample Basalt Flask of Warding (Curse immunity)
  3. Experimenter's Silver Flask of Adrenaline (inc. Movement Speed)
  4. Experimenter's Sulphur Flask of Heat (Freeze immunity)
  5. Ample Quartz Flask of Curing (Poison immunity)
Divine Life FlaskBasalt FlaskDiamond FlaskSilver FlaskQuartz Flask

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Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Grinding Gear Games.

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