[3.11] Chieftain Reflect Ballistas - aka RAT Nuke 2.0



GGG broke the gems again, Ballista Totem support now bases the life on the level of the attack gem, not the support gem

So you saw that russellhentz's Build of the Week ages ago and might be wondering, has Torchoak Step made it viable? The answer as of 3.11 is yeah it kinda is. Do you want to use a build that uses totems, rage, elemental equilibrium, reverse knockback, all of which contributes to attacking 72 times a second and proccing 72 instances of reflect damage? Then this is the build for you.

The last three leagues gave us incredibly important tools that allow us to rebuild the concept into something pretty decent. 3.9 was the Ranged Attack Totem revamp into Ballistas, giving us a significant amount of extra totems, totem life, and some other helpful nodes on the passive tree. It also introduced the revamped Galvanic Arrow and the new Barrage support, both crucial to our build. 3.10 is also really good to us because Cluster Jewels give a metric ton of extra totem life but just as importantly, introduce The Siege unique cluster jewel meaning we no longer need to use a knockback support gem which enables the Galvanic Arrow + Barrage Support + Faster Attack set-up instead of swapping back and forth between Rain of Arrows and Barrage. 3.11 allowed for use of Rage and Berserk along with Enduring Cry and Valako which gives us permanent uptime on 5 or more endurance charges. Harvest also provides a super BiS helmet which will be uber rare, especially so if this build ever becomes not niche.

3.12 Update

Loss of Forbidden Shako from Harvest not going core is pretty big, even though it was pretty rare it was one of the ways this build could push for endgame damage. NEVERMIND, Replica Forbidden Shako can be even more nuts than before with a possible level 35 Ballista Totem Support

Chains of Emancipation is a super nice belt. Makes resistance and stat requirements a bit harder but gives you permanent immunity to curses because you will have like a 80% uptime on >25 rage.

Replica Shroud of the Lightless is quite nice. Provides less life than Kaom's but really helps with resistances, stats, attack speed, and can provide a good amount of armour if needed. Since we don't need any of the flat damage, our abyssal jewels will be much cheaper.


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Pros

+ carries most of the same pros and cons of regular totems
+ pretty tanky with 6.5k life, 5 to 7 endurance charges, 20k armor, and less damage taken from Berserk
+ absolutely nuts damage in big groups of mobs like when Metamorph units get spawned
+ serviceable boss killer and can do all end game content
+ cheap to build after Eye of Innocence goes down in price (maybe initial cost of around ~25 to 50 chaos after a week into the league) and uses a relatively cheap 6L through Quill Rain and Porcupine div cards
+ extremely novel build

Cons

- no leech with sustain primarily coming from life regeneration and Enduring Cry
- mediocre clear speed compared to the zoomiest builds
- ballista change to totem placement range puts you right in the middle of mob packs leading to occasional rips, would not suggest for hardcore
- cumbersome league starter because it requires uniques that are usually expensive early on (only due to initial supply such as Eye of Innocence which becomes much cheaper later)

Annoyances

= requires a lot of jewels with stats or resistances, albeit max life/totem life jewels aren't that expensive
= bosses that move a lot and are immune to knockback like Sirus can be very annoying to fight because you need to re-summon your totems each time
= can become very laggy because of the sheer amount of calculations being made and a billion Galvanic Arrows being shot per second is eye blinding


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Videos

T16 Alleyways
(silent because I forgot to turn on audio)

A8 Redeemer

Uber Elder

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Path of Building

Spoiler
Level 90 w/ No Chase Items - https://pastebin.com/96afMsbs
My current character w/ Significant Investment - https://pastebin.com/R24kumXB


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Main Mechanics

Damage


Torchoak Step provides all of our DPS. Since all the damage comes from the totem reflect, the only ways to scale damage are Totem Life, Attack Speed, Resistance Reduction (penetration does not work, not sure why the original RAT Nuke said it does), and other effects that are some form of Increased Damage Taken such as Covered in Ash. Technically also we scale by making sure we can ignite as much as possible but we easily reach 100% ignite chance and 100% hit chance.

Damage calculation is 25% Totem life * # of totems * number of projectiles (double if using Galvanic Arrow + Barrage) * Attacks per Second


The way we proc our totem reflect is from the self-damage from Eye of Innocence which means maintaining a 100% ignite chance is key. We get this from our ascendancy, combustion support, jewels, and boot enchants.


Knockback is important because the radius for the totem reflect is incredibly tiny (GGG please buff this). You might wonder why we are knocking mobs back if we want them to be close, which is where Emprie's Grasp comes in, allowing us to vacuum everything we hit with reverse knockback.


Elemental Equilibrium is incredibly important since reducing resistances is one of the only ways to scale damage and EE's reduction is massive. We proc this with added lightning damage affixes on items instead of fire damage and igniting with Stormfire. You can use Three Dragons and added cold damage until you are level 80. Even just one item giving you the necessary added damage is all you need, since you only need minimum 1 damage of the corresponding type to ignite with 100% ignite chance. This actually becomes a probably in delirium orb'd maps that give enemies damage reduction instead of increased life though because sometimes you just don't ignite.


Chainbreaker and Rage enables us to use Berserk which really boosts our movement speed, attack speed, and survivability with almost 80% uptime. You want to be spamming this as much as possible.


Defenses


Our main defensive layer is armor, endurance charges, and a ton of Life. We increase our armor primarily with Determination and the Ironwood node on our passive tree along with 8 totems. We also get a lot of extra armor from Empire's Grasp and a Determination Watcher's Eye along with the tiniest bit extra from an Abyssal Jewel with "increased Armour if you haven't killed yet" since you will never kill anything yourself.


The Elemental Penetration Conspiracy

So according to russellhentz, the original creator of the RAT Nuke build, and Bex herself in the Build of the Week video, elemental penetration works with the totem reflect damage. This should not be the case and as far as I know, it isn't the case. Reflect damage can not be scaled in any generic (as in non-Unique modifiers) way even if the reflect came from your own character. If anyone can prove me wrong, I would gladly retool the build to take ele penetration in mind.


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Passive Tree Breakdown

Passive tree is pretty self-explanatory, like most builds its 90% life nodes and 10% other stuff. Being a marauder means extremely easy access to Soul of Steel and the Scion life cluster which is great. Resolute Technique is free 100% hit chance since we don't crit at all. We anoint Watchtowers for the +1 totem. We turn The Agnostic into Chainbreaker via a Timeless Jewel in the Scion jewel sockets. If you can find curse corrupt on gloves, you can switch to Whispers of Doom anoint and run a Skirmish quiver if you can make up for the resistances and stats.


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Skill Gem Set-Up

Main 6L


Galvanic Arrow + Combustion + Barrage Support + Multiple Totems + Faster Attacks + Ballista Totem

Before 3.10 we used Rain of Arrows and Barrage, with the former for clear and latter for bossing but we don't need to do that anymore. Galvanic Arrow is a nice in-between offering both AoE and a large amount of single target damage. Barrage Support and Galvanic Arrow basically doubles the amount of attacks we do by splitting up the arrow and cone portion of Galvanic Arrow. If we shoot 6 arrows, we actually hit 12 times. At 19781 totem life (with Level 21 Ballista Totem), 8 totems, and 8 projectiles with Berserk on we can do about 2.5m DPS before any sort of resistance or increased damage taken calculation. With 20% quality Awakened Greater Multiple Projectiles instead of Faster Attacks, it goes up to a bit above ~3m DPS but I will explain a bit later why I'm not entirely sure if this is true. As stated before, it is very important to get the Level 21 version of Ballista Totem when you can because it has way higher totem life to scale.


Auras/Reservations

Flesh and Stone
Blinds nearby enemies, gives you less damage taken from enemies outside your aura radius, and it's cheap. Great since you're basically just constantly running through enemies.

Clarity/Precision
Cheap throwaway auras; Clarity for some mana regen during boss fights and precision mainly for Watcher's Eye ASPD bonus. If you don't have a Watcher's Eye with the modifier then don't bother with precision.

Determination
Gives us a ton of armor, thus buffing our phys reduction and giving us chunky molten shell barriers. Buffed even further with a Watcher's Eye.


Utility

Berserk / Vaal Haste / Frenzy
Ways to increase our attack speed even further. You can keep Berserk on pretty much all the time for the added move speed and less damage taken.

Enduring Cry
Free constant endurance charges and decent life regen for one skill point in Call to Arms which we head by anyway.

CWDT (Level 1) + Vaal Molten Shell
Since the nerf, VMS is really only useful for mapping so you can just spam it whenever. Since we're always re-upping our curse via a curse ring, we can't really use a defensive curse setup with something like Enfeeble.

Dash + Second Wind
Gives a good bit of mobility for a generic movement skill


Flammability
If you don't have a Curse on Hit ring, you'll have to self-cast this yourself. It's not too bad, just annoying.


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Leveling

Leveling Build

Facebreaker Ancestral Warchief is a pretty cheap way to level with totems. Make sure to be on the lookout for added physical damage rares and uniques which will help you a lot leveling up. You can also get some totem damage on the passive tree that you can just refund later, it's not too expensive to path to them since we will get totem life anyways in most of these clusters.


Leveling Uniques

Deidbell, Great Old One's Ward, Blackheart, and Redblade Tramplers are some decent phys damage uniques to be on the lookout for when leveling alongside the generic good stuff leveling uniques like Tabula Rasa, Wanderlust, and Goldrim.

You can swap to Torchoak Step as soon as you can equip Eye of Innocence at level 68. Make sure you have either the Three Dragons or Stormfire set up because it's just not worth it without EE active.


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Gear

Necessary Uniques


Torchoak Step


Eye of Innocence


Empire's Grasp


Stormfire/Three Dragons


The Siege
This unique cluster jewel gives us access to Kineticism, which makes all our arrows have a 100% chance to knockback. We need this to be able to use our new ballista set-up, otherwise we wouldn't have enough links. Also means we can't chain, so don't bother with that.


Quill Rain gives us a ton of attack speed at the cost of pretty much nothing since we don't care about how much damage each individual attack does. 6L Quill Rains are very cheap nowadays or you can chance your own with The Porcupine divination cards. If you can only afford a 5L Quill Rain, drop Faster Attack Support.


Good Uniques


Kaom's Heart is a big nice chunk of life since we don't really need the extra sockets. The fire damage is useless. Max res or maximum life corrupt is nice. If Kaom's is too expensive for you, just Belly or a regular rare chest with life and resistances is fine.


Lethal Pride with Akoya gives us access to the Chainbreaker keystone. This means a permanent 25% increased ASPD but more importantly access to Berserk which is a HUGE damage boost and a very usable defensive utility button. This and Kaom's Heart should be your first two big buys other than a 6L Quill Rain. They will make the build infinitely better to use.


Watcher's Eyes with with added armour from determination is nice and cheap, try finding one paired with ASPD from precision if you can and you can just run level 1 precision.


Rain of Splinters is just extra projectiles and again, we don't care about any decrease in attack damage. If possible find a corrupted one with immunity to corrupted blood. You can find this on any of our jewels.


Chase Gear


Cinderswallow Urn is just a flat 10% extra damage taken to everything. You can take the extra regeneration or the movement speed for mapping.


Forbidden Shako with Level 25 Ballista Totem and another usable support is our BiS helmet for raw damage. Look at the "End Game Changes" section at the end of the guide for more details.

Awakened Greater Multiple Projectiles with Barrage support has a pretty long animation. Through sheer numbers it's like 15% more damage over Faster Attacks. I think this is a DPS increase but it is hard to determine.


You can see that we use an absolute tonnage of uniques, meaning you might wonder where our resistances, life, and stats come from. Our jewel nodes give us plenty of increased maximum life and stats along with totem life if you can find cheap ones.

Rares


As for rares, there is a bit of wiggle room but not a lot. You mostly want a Stygian Vise and a Ring with all your necessary resistances and maximum life. For the Abyss Jewel, you want max life, lightning damage to bows, any needed stats, and "% increased armour if you haven't killed anything recently". You can get any helmet with just a good amount of resistances and life, maybe a berserk enchant. Shaper quiver for blind on hit and additional arrow. If you can afford one and have all your needed resistances, a Flammability Curse on Hit ring is really nice.


Cluster Jewels


The main totem cluster nodes you want is Ancestral Preservation which will increase totem life by a whopping 30% per node. I usually pick up two medium clusters, one with Sleepless Sentries for perma onslaught and one with Ancestral Echo for the extra attack speed. Riot Queller + Shrieking Bolts is a really nice combo you might be able to find in a Megalomaniac jewel (or among several different cluster jewels) which allows your totems to taunt for you while also making them take extra damage.


Flasks


Chemist's Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline
We use Dash and Quicksilver to zoom, sadly we got nothing better but Dash is pretty good.

Bubbling Eternal Life Flask
Been jumping back and forth between this and Blood of the Karui but this one is probably better for most builds and especially so you can use Adrenaline Quicksilver Flasks and fill out with Heat, Warding, or Staunching.

Quartz Flask
I tried playing this build without phasing and it absolutely sucked since you constantly are running through live mobs. Use this with either Heat, Warding, or Staunching.

Enduring Eternal Mana Flask
Solves our mana problem for most map clearing. Enduring is absolutely required since we reserve most of our mana. Use this with either Heat, Warding, or Staunching.

No real strategy to it, just piano the hell out of these flasks.


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Ascendancy

Chieftain

Listed in order of when you should take them.

Tasalio, Cleansing Water for the huge chunk of fire resistance, life regen, and ignite immunity. Solves your fire resistance when leveling.

Arohungui, Moon's Presence is incredibly important because it means our totems take no damage from Eye of Innocence (they are still hit) but also increases damage taken by mobs near them (all of the mobs hit by them). Some nice damage reduction too.

Ramako, Sun's Light sadly is just there for the 25% ignite chance. Everything else is useless.

Hinekora, Death's Fury gives our totems a chance to cover rares and uniques in ashes, increasing fire damage taken by 20%. Huge chunk of damage along with some extra life in the increased strength.

**When you can afford to get extra fire resistance on your gear and jewels, you want to switch from Tasalio to Valako for easier enudrance charge upkeep and the +1 max charge.

**Tukohoma's leech won't work for our totems since reflect damage can't be leeched, no point in entertaining the thought.


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Tips/Tricks

Bind Enduring Cry to LMB to keep max endurance charges at all times.

Running maps can be fast with the proper technique, you want to basically be dropping ballistas while running through mobs like they're traps and moving on.

Totems can be VERY laggy if it keeps vacuuming enemies that are stuck behind a ledge or something so you want to be careful placing totems near those places. If you see the immunity totems, you want to place your ballistas near them ASAP.

Dynamic culling in the graphics options is basically necessary to run this build


Very End Game Changes

If you have a lot of spare currency, there are some huge changes you can make to the build. Most importantly, buying a Forbidden Shako with Level 25 Ballista Totem + Combustion/Faster Attacks/Barrage/GMP is the new BiS helmet. It increases damage by roughly a full 30%. It's an absolutely huge boost. This also means that you lose out on one more rare and you need to find your resistances elsewhere. I am however hesitant even putting this on here because there are so few Level 25 Ballista Totem Shakos in Harvest that I doubt there would be more than a handful sold each new league lol

Corrupted Gloves with Ele Weak/Flammability along with a Curse Ring for the other allows you to forgo Watchtowers anoint for Whispers of Doom anoint. You can run with just 7 totems or use Skirmish (preferably corrupted with extra arrow) for the 8th if you can manage your resistances.

Corruptions you want to look for are:

Curse on Gloves
Increased ASPD on Rings/Gloves
Poison immunity on Rings
Corrupted blood immunity on Jewels


What about the Hierophant varient?

I have never tried the Hierophant variant but it is an interesting one. Woolfio has a video on it which scales using cast speed, Holy Flame Totem, and a lot of extra totem life from +level to fire skill gems. It uses significantly fewer totems and overall feels not only weaker but squishier too. Feel free to try it yourself though.
Last edited by zgish on Sep 27, 2020, 7:45:38 PM
Last bumped on Oct 20, 2020, 5:49:59 PM
Hey I found this build while looking into marauder totem builds going into 3.11...the reason? The new chainbreaker keystone from a timeless jewel. Since attack speed is one of the few ways to scale up damage, would 100% max rage uptime be worth looking into? I'm away from my PC for a couple of days so I can't PoB it atm but on first glance it may be a big DPS boost?
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CoolChandler wrote:
Hey I found this build while looking into marauder totem builds going into 3.11...the reason? The new chainbreaker keystone from a timeless jewel. Since attack speed is one of the few ways to scale up damage, would 100% max rage uptime be worth looking into? I'm away from my PC for a couple of days so I can't PoB it atm but on first glance it may be a big DPS boost?


That's actually a really interesting keystone. I'd have to see where I could fit it in the new tree, it would likely be The Agonistic running into the scion life cluster. A flat 25% increased ASPD added to the current damage calculation would increase DPS by roughly 10% which is nice.

Primarily it allows the use of Berserk which is a huge boost for bossing. I'll definitely try to fit it in. Thanks for the suggestion!
Last edited by zgish on Jun 17, 2020, 4:10:39 AM
So the new tree and cluster jewel changes have some...interesting effects on this build. First, they removed the +1 to ballista totems from Sleepless Sentries...which is troublesome. Second, at least Watchtowers is now anointable. So we can get back to 7, but for all 8, Ancestral Bond is going to have to be taken. Shuffling around some cluster and tree nodes and it does look possible to get north of 21k totem life sacrificing defenses. At least Sleepless Sentries now gives Onslaught, so there's a built-in attack speed buff if you take it on one jewel.

Between chainbreaker, more totem life, and berserk for single-target burst, it does look like there is some DPS upside in 3.11. I'm sure there's other changes I'm not aware of.

Personally, I'm starting as an AW Berserker (yes I know, they gutted the poor ascendancy...it's still going to be crazy with chainbreaker) but I'll be watching this space and might flip over if it looks viable, since it's just such a cool and unique build. Good luck!
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CoolChandler wrote:
So the new tree and cluster jewel changes have some...interesting effects on this build. First, they removed the +1 to ballista totems from Sleepless Sentries...which is troublesome. Second, at least Watchtowers is now anointable. So we can get back to 7, but for all 8, Ancestral Bond is going to have to be taken. Shuffling around some cluster and tree nodes and it does look possible to get north of 21k totem life sacrificing defenses. At least Sleepless Sentries now gives Onslaught, so there's a built-in attack speed buff if you take it on one jewel.


The Sleepless Sentries nerf is brutal but there are some definite paths that could lead to significant positive changes to the build, namely in its sustain and bossing potential. I'd have to drop Wave of Conviction for Bond which might be worth it now that I need the extra slots for Berserk anyway.

Definitely going to update this build after I finish experimenting. Great suggestions though.
It seems like a bug, if you link Ballista totem with barrage support, when the totem attack , client will crash
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It seems like a bug, if you link Ballista totem with barrage support, when the totem attack , client will crash


Client hasn't crashed for me yet but the reverse knockback on Empire's Grasp is definitely bugged. It just ignores the reverse knockback like half the time, pushing them away instead. I think something in 3.11 broke the interaction with Galvanic Arrow cause only the arrow part pulls but the cone part pushes away. So you are really only just pulling in one unit at a time since the cone pushes everything else away.

If you are already dedicated to making this build, I suggest using Rain of Arrows for right now.
Last edited by zgish on Jun 26, 2020, 3:23:30 AM
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Client hasn't crashed for me yet but the reverse knockback on Empire's Grasp is definitely bugged. It just ignores the reverse knockback like half the time, pushing them away instead. I think something in 3.11 broke the interaction with Galvanic Arrow cause only the arrow part pulls but the cone part pushes away. So you are really only just pulling in one unit at a time since the cone pushes everything else away.

If you are already dedicated to making this build, I suggest using Rain of Arrows for right now.
Thank god, I thought I was the only one who noticed this. I was very surprised when I watched the promenade clearing video, tried Galvanic with barrage myself, and fell on my face. I tried linking multiple different support gems, wondering why my clear was so awful compared to the video.

Hopefully, this bug gets fixed soon.
Last edited by Shleep on Jun 26, 2020, 12:12:25 PM
Some initial impressions with my upcoming 3.11 changes

There have been a couple of small totem life buffs on the passive tree and getting totem life, max life, res/attribute, aspd jewels have been incredibly easy this league.

Chainbreaker is great and using Vaal Haste along with Berserk is a humongous damage boost.

Being able to anoint Watchtowers is nice but reaching 8 totems is a bit of a pain since we now take Ancestral Bond, minimum level i'd recommend 8 totems is around 85 so you can focus a bit more on strengthening survivability until then.

Valako is nice but Enduring Cry is op, can keep up 5 endurance charges basically permanently.
Last edited by zgish on Jul 9, 2020, 2:48:11 PM
"
zgish wrote:
"
It seems like a bug, if you link Ballista totem with barrage support, when the totem attack , client will crash


Client hasn't crashed for me yet but the reverse knockback on Empire's Grasp is definitely bugged. It just ignores the reverse knockback like half the time, pushing them away instead. I think something in 3.11 broke the interaction with Galvanic Arrow cause only the arrow part pulls but the cone part pushes away. So you are really only just pulling in one unit at a time since the cone pushes everything else away.

If you are already dedicated to making this build, I suggest using Rain of Arrows for right now.

Crash bug has been fixed in recently patch. But, yes, knockback isn't working correctly.
I give up and run Doryani's fist right now. Waiting for knockback fix.

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