[3.9] Fists of Fire (or Lightning) | Boss Killer | Cheap Starter | FB/Unarmed

Notes on 3.9 — Conquerors of the Atlas
(some early analysis)

So we'll still need to see the patch notes, but yesterday's Balance release has sparked an idea on where we might take this build in 3.9, namely a redesign from "Fists of Fire" to "Fists of Lightning."

So what's the big idea here? Well, with all of the Non-Damaging Ailments changes, it looks, at face value, like a melee shock build could be an effective way to get a lot more dps out of the build. Looks like getting shock on high end bosses is going to be a lot easier, especially with the massive underlying dps of the build. But there are a few challenges to making this work. First and foremost, accomplishing the conversion from phys to lightning. There are a few ways to get there:

Stromcharger unique boots (30% phys to lightning)
Physical to Lightning Support (50% phys to lightning)
Watcher's Eye unique jewels (25-40% phys to lightning [req. Wrath])
Vessel of Vinktar unqiue flask (20% phys to lightning)
Smite (50% phys to lightning)
Elemental Hit (lightning only variant)

Next comes Ascendancy. With a lightning conversion build, Chieftain doesn't really make much sense anymore. At first glance, here are some other Ascendancies that might work, and why:

Best Options:

Pros: Accuracy, attack speed, endurance charge generation and gobs of defense
Cons: none really

Pros: Built-in Fortify, taunt, intimidate and adrenaline.
Cons: none really

Pros: Onslaught and Phasing buffs galore, dodge and evasion buffs
Cons: none really

Pros: Leech, tons of dps (Rage)
Cons: Not much defensively

Other Options:

Pros: Elemental penetration and crit. multi
Cons: Not much defensively, melee Templar is meh

Pros: Charge generation, Intimidate and reists
Cons: Not much defensively, melee Templar is meh

Pros: Culling strike, leech and AoE
Cons: outside of leech, not much defensively

Pros: 30% increased effect of shock and Herald of Purity, 25% lightning penetration
Cons: Making a viable melee Witch

Another important change in the Balance notes is the limitation on multi-modding when crafting. While this doesn't impact this build (we'd only ever craft steel rings using Essence of Contempt), it will impact a lot of other melee builds that rely on powerful rare weapons. This should make this build even more competitive, and all that much cheaper compared to other endgame builds.

Obviously a lot could change when the patch notes are released, but wanted to provide some quick analysis of what I am thinking based on the limited info that we have at this point. I expect to update this more once the patch notes are released. But all-in-all, I expect this to once again be a powerful, end-game build, as well as an amazing league starter. At face value, it looks like this build will be even stronger in 3.9.

Having seen the new Awakened gems and after tinkering with PoB to get lightning to work, it appears Chieftain (and fire) still outshines the alternative lightning setup. Therefore sticking with Chieftain for 3.9. The 3.8 guide below is still the optimal path without having yet to see all the new 3.9 content. But I will update as appropriate as I progress with the build.

3.8 Content

Latest Videos:

3.8 clvl 98 Uber Elder Run w/ Watcher's Eye Drop: https://youtu.be/9NTJ97E-oBc

3.8 clvl 96 Shaper Run (100% unique variation): https://youtu.be/Sel23x79WTM

3.8 clvl 95 Shaper run (using a shield): https://youtu.be/TbLjf070Mj8

3.8 clvl 95 T16 Toxic Sewer (using a shield): https://youtu.be/CuktuIE9hpA

3.8 clvl 94 Minotaur run (using quiver): www.youtube.com/watch?v=roVWsI2E6C4

3.8 Level 96 PoB: https://pastebin.com/EGA22HME
@6.1 million Shaper DPS (with shield)
This is my leveling setup

3.8 Level 96 PoB: https://pastebin.com/BNrdHBmW
@7.9 million Shaper DPS (with quiver)

3.8 Level 98 (Current) Gear (spec'd for leveling):


3.8 Level 96 Gear (spec'd for leveling):


The Lethal Pride gives 2x 20% Increased Melee Damage and 1x 30% Melee Crit Chance

3.8 Level 92 Gear:


3.8 Level 90 Gear:


3.8 Patch Notes Impact on build:

All-in-all, this should be a more balanced build in 3.8 with more dps and QoL and defense. The build is still a great choice for league start and end game. This build will still be able to smash Uber Elder and all other end-game content.

Cyclone AoE -- Significant buff thanks to base 11 range on cyclone, and additional +1 range to unarmed on several passives (i.e. Master of the Arena, Brinkmanship). No more need to socket Increased AoE for a decent feel on map clear!

Cyclone Flat phys -- Nerfed hard with added flat phys nearly halved ... considering unique helmet Abyssus to compensate. This would also open up the opportunity to go full crit late game and stack multiplier. Unique jewel Transcendent Flesh also got a buff, and we'd want to include in build.

Relevant gem changes in 3.8

Fortify -- Supported skills now deal more damage with all Ailments caused by melee hits (whereas previously it was just Bleeding and Poison).
**Nice boost to ignite dmg when not using Elemental Focus**

All-in-all, the optimum cyclone setup looks something like this:

Cyclone->Melee phys->Element Attack Dmg->Fortify->Conc. Effecct->Infused Channeling

Given the nerf in flat phys on cyclone, it might also be a better option to go with a rare delve chest with Maim versus Bronn's. Will have to test this, as movement speed and attack speed on Bronn's are still very nice for QoL.

With all these changes, very much looking forward to taking this build into Blight!

New 5-Way Army Fight (Sadly, no Head Hunter)

ATTENTION: The build guide below is a non-crit version, which I used in 3.7. This build is still valid, but for 3.8, I moved to a crit version using the unique amulet, Rigwald's Curse -- this is a much stronger version of the build. We achieve our needed accuracy through a combination of Precision, War Banner and points in the tree. Since the damage is significantly greater, we are able to swap The Signal Fire for the unique shield, Vix Lunaris. Please refer to the PoB links at the top of this post for tree and gear changes for 3.8.

End-of-league gear (3.7):

***PoB Link Update #2 -- Lvl 95, new amulet***:

***PoB Link Update #1 -- new gear including Bronne's Lithe, double corrupt Facebreakers and Elemental Overload (no more Resolute Technique)***: https://pastebin.com/VqKvtUaz

Path of Building link (Original): https://pastebin.com/cbgfQ72j


This build utilizes the Chieftain ascendancy https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Chieftain and a few key uniques to deliver massive fire damage, wicked ignites and solid clear speed. Best of all, with this build you can jump into your end game setup at a low level (Level 28) bringing massive dps to your playthrough. Furthermore, the build's core requires little investment to conquer all content.

How the build works:

Combine the potency of Chieftain's Ngamahu, Flame's Advance (50% physical to fire) with the uniques Facebreaker and The Signal Fire quiver (50% physical to fire), toss in some flat physical damage, and burn down every boss in the game.

- Excellent clear speed and bossing
- Surprising dps with little investment
- Fun play style
- Decent AoE for an unarmed build (this is getting buffed in 3.8)

- Can't do elemental reflect map mod (or phys reflect using shield)
- Not as tanky as some builds (physical dmg reduction)
- May require some crafting to economically optimize ring and amulet slots (utilizes only uniques in 3.8)
- Corrupt uniques are highly recommended, but can be hard to acquire

3.7 Tree (Level 94):

Hideout w/ totem, flasks and Ngamahu, Flame's Advance up:

3.7 Videos:

Gameplay (Loaded T16 Chimera): https://youtu.be/n7sK615Ed6A

Minotaur: https://youtu.be/7dadkcenUPQ

Hydra: https://youtu.be/VQu2iQHU5Tc

Vaal Temple: https://youtu.be/-Eo4FE5EGNQ

Elder Guardian 1: https://youtu.be/MKMET9b_yRI

Elder Guardian 2: https://youtu.be/lOm-M2TSM8E

Elder Guardian 3: https://youtu.be/B428QpY8iw8

Elder Guardian 4: https://youtu.be/k1SikEWUT1E

Uber Elder (death-filled because I suck): https://youtu.be/-N4Wrjg-BXU

3.7 Gear and Analysis (refer to 3.8 PoB link above for current gear ... build updated to utilize crit):

Core items:

The only stat that matter on The Signal Fire is the "Gain (25-35)% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage." This unique is plentiful and cheap, so finding one rolled 30%+ should be easy. Corrupt for up to 50% phys as extra fire damage.

Like The Signal Fire, Facebreakers are plentiful and cheap. The stat "(600-800)% more Physical Damage with Unarmed Attacks" is all that matters ... look for something 790%+. +% to max life is a solid corruption.

Rings and Amulet:

Look for added flat damage, then target life and resists as needed. Two key quality of life mastercrafts to also aim for: -mana cost on ring and +1 unarmed range on amulet. Really, the easiest route to great rings is buying a couple steel rings and crafting with Deafening Essence of Contempt.

Armour, boots, helmet and belt:

Loreweave or Bronn's Lithe are best in slot for maximizing dps, but a 6-link rare with lots of life and resists is also a solid, affordable option that can take you deep into end game.

Look for movement speed, life and resists on boots. Attack speed on kill is a nice enchant.

For helm, target life and resists as needed. Physical damage take as an element is also a key defensive mod. Like the amulet, target +1 unarmed range is a great choice for a mastercraft.

Since we use Fortify in our cyclone setup, the unique belt Perseverance frees up a flask slot and gives us 100% uptime for Onslaught. This belt is also very cheap, which means getting a solid corruption (% max life) is achievable.


The Red Nightmare is a great way to generate Endurance Charges, and it also provides some decent dps. In addition to this unique jewel, look for rares with % max life, resists and appropriate dps modifiers.


For anything other than Uber Elder, I go with speed on speed in place of Cinderswallow



For more AoE, swap Increased Area for Conc. Effect ... the build has plenty of dps to run Increased AoE fulltime.

Heralds and Totem:

CWDT Setup:


Bandits: Kill all


Soul of Lunaris
Soul of Ryslatha
Soul of Yugul (for uber Elder)

A few words about leveling:

Level 1-27: Use whatever melee skill you'd like; work way to Vitality Void on tree

Level 28+: Shift skill setup to cyclone and supporting skills; equip The Signal Fire and Facebreakers. Equip new rings and amulet emphasizing added physical damage. Also equip

Regarding the tree, after switching to cyclone, make a b-line for Resolute Technique. Once you have RT, just continue adding life nodes and damage nodes in a balanced way. Feel free to take Vaal Pact at any time.
Dernière édition par SaintCabal, le 13 déc. 2019 13:34:34
Dernier bump le 15 déc. 2019 02:55:35
Added gameplay video, tree link and character page.
Hello, I saw a link to this and wanted to try converting my chieftain to this build after playing tectonic and starting cyclone with my mace. Not too great. So far, I got the quiver with 35% fire gain that my slayer is using right now.

But your tree with my gear doesn't come close even if I sub in that jewel in the middle, which I don't have. It seems the rings and jewels would be priority? And I should say, if I turn off all flasks and take out the Loreweave, I still don't get there. Topping at 360k or so. Honestly that is better than my current numbers but I'm interested in going for more and spending my regrets wisely too.

So what would be priority? I know I don't have uber done and have the endurance charge node but I could respec that to the ash one.

Here is my pob.

I don't have big funds but could spend an ex or two.
Thanks for any tips.
Dernière édition par raziekeljr, le 18 juil. 2019 11:46:03
Thanks for checking out the build. It's been a lot of fun this league.

So a few thoughts on your PoB ...

Most of the damage from the build comes from three primary sources: Chieftain Ascendancy, flat phys and the quiver.

You could up your dps significantly by moving a point from Tawhoa to Hinekora. This is essentially a 20% more damage modifier. Similarly, Arohongui is a 16% more damage modifier because you should always have a totem down for boss fights. It also has a nice def bonus.

Buy a couple cheap steel rings and use Essence of Contempt to get some decent rings. You want to have 18 or more flat on your rings.

Look for or try corrupting the quiver to get the extra fire damage mod. This is a multiplier. You should be starting with quiver that already have 33%+. Highest possible added fire on quiver is 50% ... you want to try to be at 40% or more in total.

Quality on your gems will bring a bit more dps.

You should be able to get better Facebreakers for cheap. You might even be able to get some near 800% with a corruption for under 30c. Temporal Chains or Enfeeble on Hit are both solid.

You could get a ton more dps with a different flask setup. Lion's Roar is a must. Atziri's Promise, Cindreswallow and Wise Oak too. With these, and a few of these other changes, you'll be well above 1 million dps.

Also, you really need to grab all those jewel sockets in your tree. Right now you can get 3 sockets with four point. Pull the points out of the life wheel. You going to lose 5% max life, but you can buy jewels with 7% and other stuff on top. I use my jewels to get life and res, which makes it possible to get max damage on rings and amulet.

I've actually since shifted this build away from Resolute Technique and included Elemental Overload, using a CWDT w/ Orb of Storms to proc. I'm also now using a Bronne's Lithe. The dps boost has been significant.

I think you're headed in the right direction. With a few tweaks, you'll be rolling over Uber Elder in no time. Good luck out there, Exile!
There's been a few changes since I first built this guide. I've included an updated PoB link with new gear, skills and tree changes.

Currently, Shaper DPS is coming in around 4.8 million. If I can bring myself to spend 4ex on a lvl 21 Cyclone gem, Shaper DPS will be topping 5 million.
Added 5-Way Timeless and updated PoB.
3.8 Cyclone "nerf" is effectively an AoE buff for unarmed builds! Looking forward to Fists of Fire being even stronger in Blight.
Build looks great, seems league starter viable too due to cheapness of Facebreakers and easy chieftain dmg boosts

good work!
Thanks ... and yes, it has been one of the best league starts (and end game) builds I have ever played. The damage is ridiculous right from the start, which makes the playthrough a little more enjoyable.

If I get a chance, I'll update with all my current gear and gems, which have changed a bit since I first post the build guide.


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