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Shockwave Totem Hierophant Build

Shockwave Totem Hierophant Build

A Lightning Conversion Build that uses Astral Projector to increase the damage and AoE of your Shockwave Totems

 Shockwave Totem
Hierophant build

Updated for Patch 3.20

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Guide notes
January 05, 2023
-Updated for Patch 3.20
Build overview



Boss DPS:



Shockwave Totem is one of the simplest Totem Skills in the game. It summons a Totem that deals Physical Spell Damage in form of a Nova. As it is common for most of the Totem builds, the best choice is to pick the Hierophant Class with Pursuit of Faith and Ritual Awakening - two immensely beneficial Totem Ascendancy Keystones. Another Hierophant's Passives worth picking are Conviction of Power for eight extra permanent Charges and Arcane Blessing to get a 100% uptime Arcane Surge buff. It's a build that heavily relies on  Cold Damage - both offensive and defensive aspects of it. The build is very simple and offers a lot of elbow room when putting together. 

The Shockwave Totem initially deals Physical Damage, but after conversion, it should be pure Cold Damage. But that's not all, as Heatshiver Helmet will double that as Fire Damage if you manage to Freeze your opponent, which you shall do without any problems. Chilling and Freezing enemies is also a powerful defensive bonus, especially useful in Forbidden Sanctums where you will be able to constantly stop in motion every Guard. Astral Projector Ring has a big impact on the build playstyle, as it causes your Totems to create a Nova directly on top of enemies. It can be played without it, but the built-in knockback makes it quite annoying. 

Freeze is not your only way of survival. On top of a decent Health pool, which easily reaches 4 to 5k, you will have a lot of Armour and Life Regeneration. A combination of Glancing Blows and Tempest Shield will let you almost cap your Block Chance for both Attacks and Spells, while also making you immune to Shocks. Your biggest defense is the Totems themselves - not taking the Hits directly is the greatest form of mitigation available in the game. 

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1. Gameplay

It's a default Totem build - you have to place Totems ahead of you, these will target and kill enemies with a small help from Astral Projector. There is a bit more to do during boss encounters, as you will have to cast Assassin Mark once, and activate your Aura linked with Divine Blessing. Other than that, you just have to move around using Shield Charge and Flame Dash.

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • has extraordinarily high boss DPS
  • good defenses with lots of Life Regeneration
  • can benefit from a lot of damage sources such as Physical Damage, Elemental Damage, or Critical Damage
  • can run all the maps, no matter the modifiers
  • Totem playstyle might not be suited for the fast-paced playstyle
  • visuals are pretty shallow


3. Leveling tips

We recommend starting with an Elemental Spell Totem, Holy Flame Totem is a perfect candidate as it's available since level 4. You can reach 100% Physical Conversion by equipping Hrimsorrows, which are your end-game Gloves anyway. Continue leveling with Holy Flame Totem until you reach level 40, which is the minimum level to equip the Astral Projector, then you can switch to Shockwave Totems. You can also use it right at level 28, but you will have to play around the knockback more. 

For more in-depth tips for leveling with this build you can check out our  Leveling Guide using Totems

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Holy Flame setup
Holy Flame Holy Flame Totem - a Spell Totem which fires three Projectiles dealing Physical damage, half of which is converted to Fire
Added Fire Damage Support Added Fire Damage Support - adds Fire Damage sourced from Physical Damage
combustion support Combustion Support - increases the Fire Damage and lowers Fire Resistances when you ignite an Enemy. 
Physical to Lightning Support Physical to Lightning Support - converts the remaining half of the Physical Damage into Lightning
Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support - significantly reduces your Critical Strike Chance but grants a lot of Spell Damage instead.
faster casting Support Faster Casting Support - grants a lot of Cast Speed for your Totems.
Utility Gems
elemental weakness Elemental Weakness - a Hex that lowers All Elemental Resistances of your enemies
determination Determination - grants you extra flat Armour which is hard to come by without good items early on. 
herald of purity Herald of Purity - increases your Physical Damage with Spells
Clarity Clarity - Clarity increases your mana Regeneration Rate, which is very important
Flame Dash Flame Dash - a basic movement Spell to cross gaps and move faster


We recommend killing all the Bandits for two additional Passive Points.

Leveling Skill Trees:

35 Points Skill Tree
Recommended order: 1) Holy Dominion 2) Light of Divinity 3) Ancestral Bond 4) Arcane Potency 5) Heart and Soul 6) Sovereignty

60 Points Skill Tree
Recommended order: 1) Shaman's Dominion 2) Cruel Preparation 3) Nimbleness 4) Melding 5) Pain Attunement (if you use Petrified Blood) 6) Practical Application

Recommended leveling items:

Atziri's FoibleAtziri's Foible - pretty much mandatory for leveling, as it grants you a lot of Mana and Mana Regeneration
(20-30)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+100 to maximum Mana
(16-24)% increased maximum Mana
(80-100)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
Items and Gems have 25% reduced Attribute Requirements
LifesprigLifesprig - one of the best leveling items in the game, especially for this build
+1 to Level of Socketed Spell Gems
(20-28)% increased Spell Damage
(5-8)% increased Cast Speed
+(15-20) to maximum Life
+(15-20) to maximum Mana
Regenerate (6-8) Life over 1 second when you Cast a Spell

GoldrimGoldrim - has a lot of 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)
PraxisPraxis - a common ring that grants you tons of Mana in many shapes and sizes
+(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
Tabula RasaTabula Rasa - Tabula is especially good if you have a lot of Mana Regeneration Rate, which you should have with this setup
Item has no level requirement and Energy Shield (Hidden)
Item has 6 White Sockets and is fully linked (Hidden)


4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

106 Points Final Skill Tree (doesn't include Unique or Cluster Jewels)
121 Points Path of Building (PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Pursuit of Faith
  2. Ritual Awakening
  3. Conviction of Power
  4. Arcane Blessing


Major God: Soul of Solaris 6% Physical Damage Reduction if there is only one nearby Enemy; 20% chance to take 50%  less Area Damage from Hits

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] Shockwave Totem setup
Shockwave Totem Shockwave Totem - It's your main DPS Skill. A Totem that cast a Nova Spell dealing Physical Damage in the targeted area. It has low Added Damage Effectiveness but very good Cast Speed. 
Hypothermia Support Hypothermia Support - increases your Damage against Chilled enemies and increases your chance to Freeze. 
Increased Critical Strikes Support Increased Critical Strikes Support - increases Critical Strike Chance for the linked Skills.
Increased Critical Damage Support Increased Critical Damage Support - increases the Critical Strike Multiplier. Works very well with a high Critical Strike Chance.
Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support - reduces your AoE but gives a lot of Damage. You can use Faster Casting Support for faster clear instead. 
Empower Support Empower Support - Increases the Gem Level of Shockwave Totem. Doubles the effectiveness of the Skin of Lords'  bonus to Gem Levels. 
[UTILITY] Aura setup
Zealotry Zealotry - an Aura that increases Critical Strike Chance for Spells and grants more Spell Damage. Unfortunately, Totems cannot create Consecrated Ground. 
Divine Blessing Support Divine Blessing Support - linked Aura will not Reserve Mana, but instead, it will have a duration and increased Mana Cost and Aura Effect.
Inspiration Support Inspiration Support - reduces the Mana Cost of your Aura. Use it if you don't have enough maximum Energy Shield to cast it. 
[UTILITY] Aura setup
determination Determination - our main defensive Aura that grants a lot of flat Armour Rating alongside a powerful More Armour modifier. 
hatred Hatred - grants a lot of Extra Cold Damage and improves it even more. 
petrified blood Petrified Blood - ensures Low Life status by limiting your natural Regeneration up to 50% of maximum Life and distributes part of incoming Damage from Hits as Damage over Time effect. 
herald of purity Herald of Purity - improves your Physical Damage with Spells and Attacks. 
[UTILITY] Aura setup
tempest shield Tempest Shield - grants you a lot of Chance to Block Spell Damage and makes you immune to Shocks. 
arrogance support Arrogance Support - reserves your Life instead of Mana. With Petrified Blood, you don't lose any effective Life Pool. Use Divergent Quality to improve Reservation Effectiveness. 
[UTILITY] Curse setup
assassin mark Assassin Mark - you have increased Critical Strike and Multiplier against Marked enemy. 
[UTILITY] Guard setup
Molten Shell Molten Shell - forms a firey barrier that improves your Armour Rating and absorbs a big amount of Damage. Bind to your Left Click to use it automatically when it's off Cooldown. 
[MOBILITY] Shield Charge setup
Shield Charge Shield Charge - performs a charge that scales very well with your Movement Speed and Attack Speed
Faster Attacks Support Faster Attacks Support - makes your Shield Charge much faster.  
[MOBILITY] Flame Dash
Flame Dash Flame Dash - a simple Movement Spell that allows you to skip terrain gaps. 

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5. Gear Setup

What you're looking for is primarily the Critical Strike Chance and Multiplier for Spells, Cast Speed, Increased or Added Spell, Elemental, or Physical Damage, and the Gem Level of Shockwave Totem. There are plenty of cheap Unique Items that provide amazing DPS boosts, such as Heatshiver or Yoke of Suffering. The Magnate also provides an excellent Damage boost but puts a heavy strain on your Attribute Requirements. There are 3 ways to convert to pure Cold Damage, and using Hrimsorrows is by far the cheapest and easiest. Using Rare Gloves for that purpose yields better results, but dramatically increases the costs. You can mix them with Watcher Eye's Cold Conversion modifier but both ways are quite costly.  Forbidden Jewels with Inevitable Judgement grant an immense amount of Damage but come with a high price, as a substitute you can spec into Whispers of Doom and use Elemental Weakness on top of your regular Curse Setup. As for the defensives, aim mostly for high Maximum Life, Resistances, and some Armour with Block Chance.  You will need 1 Rare Jewel with Mana Reservation Efficiency to use all of your Auras, fortunately, they are quite easy to get nowadays. 


Stat priorities on items:

  1. Maximum Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Gem Level of Shockwave Totem
  4. Critical Strike Chance and Multiplier for Spells
  5. Cast Speed
  6. Chaos Resistance
  7. Armour
  8. Block Chance
Heatshiver (Helmet) Heatshiver - you simply can't get a better Helmet on a Cold-based Build. You can get up to 130% of your Cold Damage as Extra Fire Damage if you can Freeze your opponents reliably. 
(80-100)% increased Evasion Rating
60% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+(20-30)% to Fire Resistance
+(20-30)% to Cold Resistance
Gain 1% of Cold Damage as Extra Fire Damage per 1% Chill Effect on Enemy
Gain 100% of Cold Damage as Extra Fire Damage against Frozen Enemies
Helmet enchantment:
Shockwave Totem Cast Speed
sceptre(Weapon) Rare Wand or Sceptre - The best weapon should have two modifiers increasing the Gem Level of your Shockwave Totem and some other offensive mods such as  Increased Spell or Elemental Damage, Cast Speed, or Critical Strike Chance and Multiplier.
Min. requirements:
+1 to Level of all Spell or Physical Skill Gems
increased Spell or Elemental Damage
Optional affixes:
+1 to Level of all Spell or Physical Skill Gems
Global Critical Strike Multiplier
increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells
increased Cast Speed
Shield(Off-hand) Rare Shield - you will need a Shaper-influenced Base to get an Additional Summoned Totem Limit. Other than that, look for Cast Speed, Critical Strike for Spells, or more defensive modifiers such as maximum Life, Elemental Resistances, or Block Chance. 
Min. requirements:
+1 to maximum number of Summoned Totems (Shaper's Prefix)
Optional affixes:
+1 to Level of all Physical Spell Skill Gems
maximum Life
Elemental Resistances
increased Spell or Elemental Damage
increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells
Skin of the Lords(Body Armour) Skin of the Lords - As it's often the case with builds that prioritize the Gem Level of the Skill in the main setup, it's one of the best options. You can get one with either of your Keystones to save up Passive Points. 
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>
Hrimsorrow(Gloves) Hrimsorrow - easiest way to convert your Damage into Cold. You can get useful Corrupted Implicits like Cast Speed or base Critical Strike Chance for Spells. 
+(20-30) to Strength
+(40-50) to Evasion Rating
+(20-30)% to Cold Resistance
100% of Physical Damage Converted to Cold Damage
Reflects 100 Cold Damage to Melee Attackers
Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - you will need a total of 60% Physical Damage converted to Cold to make it worthwhile. The remaining Conversion should come from Cold Mastery, Watcher Eye, or Divergent Quality on Shockwave Gem. With that Setup, you can get Chance to Unnerve and some Life and Resistances here. 
Min. requirements:
+50 to maximum Life
60% of Physical Damage Converted to Cold  Damage (Implicit and Veiled modifier)
Optional affixes:
maximum Life
Elemental Resistances
Chance to Unnerve enemies on Spell Hit
increased Damage against Chilled Enemies
increased Cast Speed
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - Boots should increase your Movement Speed, Life, and Resistances. You can also craft 100% Freeze Avoidance here. 
Min. requirements:
+60 to maximum Life
25% increased Movement Speed
+60% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Chaos Resistance
Life Regeneration
100% Chance to avoid being Frozen
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Belt - Try to get as much Maximum Life and Resistances as you can afford. There isn't much to look for so just focus on the basic mods.
Min. requirements:
+100 maximum Life
+70% to Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Damage
Life Regeneration
increased Maximum Life
The Magnate(Belt) The Magnate - makes your Flasks much easier to sustain, and gives a lot of Double and Triple Damage Chances if you have enough Strength. 
(20-30)% increased Stun Duration on Enemies
+(40-50) to Strength
+(20-25)% to all Elemental Resistances
50% increased Flask Charges gained
10% chance to deal Double Damage while you have at least 200 Strength
5% chance to deal Triple Damage while you have at least 400 Strength
Yoke of Suffering(Amulet) Yoke of Suffering - this Amulet provides up to 50% increased Damage Taken on your enemies by allowing you to Shock and another 5% for each Ailment you inflict. Its only downside is the lack of maximum Life. 
+(10-20)% to Fire Resistance
+(10-20)% to Cold Resistance
+(20-40)% to Lightning Resistance
30% reduced Duration of Ailments on Enemies
(5-10)% chance to Shock
Enemies take 5% increased Damage for each type of Ailment you have inflicted on them
Your Elemental Damage can Shock
Recommended Anointments:
Rare Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - prioritize Life, Resistances, and the Gem Level of Shockwave Totem. There are a lot of other extremely useful affixes worth looking into.
Min. requirements:
+1 to Level of all Spell or Physical Skill Gems
+70 Maximum Life
+70% to Elemental Resistances
maximum Mana
Optional affixes:
+1 to Level of all Spell or Physical Skill Gems
Critical Strike Multiplier
Cast Speed
Ring(Ring) Rare Ring - Maximum Life and Elemental Resistances are the most important modifiers. You can also get offensive modifiers such as Cast Speed or Elemental Damage here. 
Min. requirements:
+80 maximum Life
+80% to Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Cast Speed
+1 to Maximum Frenzy Charges 
Astral Projector(Ring) Astral Projector - It's one of the mandatory items, mostly because of its unique property which makes your Nova Spells cast at the targeted location. Totem will aim automatically at the enemies making it especially beneficial.
+(20-30)% to Lightning Resistance
+(30-50) to Intelligence
(20-25)% increased Spell Damage
30% chance to Avoid Elemental Ailments
Nova Spells have 20% less Area of Effect
Nova Spells deal 30% less Damage to Players
Nova Spells Cast at the targeted location instead of around you
Watcher's Eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - increased Cold Damage from Hatred is the best Damage boost here, but you can also use the Conversion one if you want to use Rare Gloves. 
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
forbidden flameforbidden flesh(Jewel) Forbidden Flesh&Flame - this combination allows you to get very powerful Inevitable Judgement from Inquisitor Ascendancy, allowing you to ignore Elemental Resistances with Crits. 
Allocates <Random Ascendancy Notable> if you have the matching modifiers on Forbidden Flesh/Flame
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - use your Rare Jewels to get some maximum Life and Resistances or Attributes if needed. Other than that, look for Critical Strike Multiplier for Spells. 
Recommended affixes:
increased maximum Life
Cast Speed
Critical Strike Multiplier
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Large Cluster Jewel - Physical Damage modifiers are the best ones here, as they have significantly higher values than Elemental modifiers. 
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Battle-Hardened
1 Added Passive Skill is Iron Breaker
1 Added Passive Skill is Furious Assault
Medium Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Medium Cluster Jewel - Sleepless Sentries Notable will grant you a nearly permanent Onslaught Buff. Supplement it with any useful Totem Notable. For your second Cluster Jewel, use the Critical Strike one. 
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Basics of Pain
1 Added Passive Skill is Pressure Points
1 Added Passive Skill is Sleepless Sentries
1 Added Passive Skill is Snaring Spirits
Bottled Faith(Flask) Bottled Faith - increases your Damage, Critical Strike Chance, and creates a massive Consecrated Ground. You can enchant it for Increased Effect since you need it only on Bosses. 
(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 - it's a very good Flask that improves your Physical and Cold Damage mitigation while also giving you an extra chunk of Damage. 
(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 Attack or Cast Speed 
  2. Life Flask with Bleeding removal
  3. Granite Flask with Attack or Cast Speed
granite Flasktasteof hateLife FlaskBottled FaithQuicksilver Flask

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