Path of Exile Betrayal [3.5]: The Armageddon Elementalist – Build Guide




For our first Build of Betrayal League, well second build for me, but first Build Guide of Betrayal League we have ourselves an ever so popular Armageddon Brand Elementalist! Mmm yes… More Molten Balls… There have been many renditions of this build within the first few weeks of this league, so there are many options to choose from! For my variant, I chose to go with a Hybrid Mind over Matter setup using the recently reworked Eldritch Battery to gain more mana reservation space while still gaining effective health. So before we get into the build summary, I am going to go over the new Armageddon Brand skill, Eldritch Battery and the new, slightly complicated unique I am using in this build variant to fully encompass the reasoning behind the build choices.

Special Credit to: Engineering Eternity “Original Author”. Check out the Full Video Guide Below.

Ok so here’s the short of it, Armageddon Brand does as it name implies, brings upon the Armageddon on its enemies. It wrecks havoc upon monsters and your screen alike bringing down a meteor that slams into the ground causing large area of effect explosions!


Brands are a new skill type introduced in patch 3.5 that are a hybrid between self cast and totems. You cast a brand, placing it on the ground like a totem, and then the brand scours it’s attachment range for an enemy target. During this time, it is detached, as shown by the empty circle in the top left brand indicator on you buff bar. If there is an enemy within its range, it will attach to it and start casting on the enemy. The buff bar icon will now fill in for that brand. You are able to have 3 detached brands placed at a time, with a limit of 1 attached brand per enemy by default.


So for example, if you are fighting a group of 3 enemies, your 3 detached brands can then attach to all 3 enemies, but only 1 brand per enemy. If you are fighting a boss, only 1 of the detached brands will attach to the boss, while the others lie dormant, however this can be expanded as we will discuss later.


Brands are also able to continue activation/casting on their own whilst we are moving around just like totems, letting us almost set and forget them on bosses. On top of this, Brands are considered as self cast damage, and as such life and mana leech can be used with them! So now that we know the basics of brands, lets touch on the long forgotten and updated Eldritch Battery.


Eldritch Battery moves your Energy Shield to protect your Mana, and it will now be used as a resource for skills before Mana. It recently saw a rework such that Energy Shield Recharge rate is no longer interrupted due use of skills or taking damage to life. This is great in general for Eldritch Battery as it is effectively fast and free resource regeneration at all times, and you do not need to have to worry about regeneration or leech for sustaining! But when Eldritch Battery is paired with Mind over Matter, the recharge will be interrupted due to splitting the damage we take to our Energy Shield that is now protecting our Mana. Luckily with the new Devouring Diadem Helmet, we are able to solve this issue.


The Devouring Diadem Helmet is a powerhouse of a helmet that is currently an exclusive drop from the Mastermind of the Syndicate, but is relatively cheap within the Betrayal League. It grants, +1 to socketed gem level, 20% reduced mana reservation to socketed gems, Eldritch Battery (with a 10% chance to trigger recharge on skill use) and finally Feast of Flesh. Not only is Eldritch Battery granted from the item, but a 10% chance to trigger recharge on skill use. This means if we just spam some skills, we will start recharging Energy Shield.


The other sustain from the helmet comes from Feast of Flesh, which automatically consumes nearby corpses every 5 seconds to provide 400 Life, 400 Energy Shield and 200 Mana per corpse consumed. It can consume up to 10 corpses, meaning that in most scenarios, it will fully restore all Life, Energy Shield and Mana! This is very beneficial when the timing aligns during heated battle or perhap when you are out of flasks!


So, in summary here, we are able to use Eldritch Battery with this unique helmet to not only improve our effective life, but to also provide better sustain and space for reserving auras to support our Armageddon Brand skill! So let’s get into the summary and see what other choices we make!


Build Summary

Phew, alright now that we got through that lengthy introduction, we now have to summarize the rest of the build! As I mentioned previously, this was my second build of the league; However, many others started their league with Armageddon Brand Elementalists and it turned out to be very strong! This build also had budget in mind, and can be put together for fairly cheap, using common uniques and rare items. The Devouring Diadem is certainly a very strong unique for this build, but it could be done without it, or at the very least started without it.


Offensively, we are using Armageddon Brand as our main skill. As talked about in the introduction, these brand skills are cast on the ground and attach to nearby enemies. Once they attach to enemies, they cast at a base activation frequency that can be scaled via cast speed. Now by default, enemies can only have 1 brand attached to them at a time. This is increased to 2 via Runebinder in the tree, removing the ability to place a totem without multi-totem support but enemies can have 1 more brand attached to them. This is an effective damage doubling! We also increase the total number of Brands we can have placed via notables in the passive tree to bring our total number of placable Brands to 5! So we run around with 5 Active Brands and can attach up to 2 Brands on a single target.


To manipulate our brands further, we use Brand Recall which pulls all placed brands to our location, refreshes their duration and in the case of Armageddon Brand, causes it to activate once! This is very useful to quickly pull Brands to the current location or for powerful single target assistance. Since all of our brands will activate, we can get all 5 brands to hit a single target if we stand close enough to them whilst we use Brand Recall. Brand Recall is an instant cast and gains cooldown recovery rate with gem level. This gem only gets to a maximum level of 6, but can be increased beyond that via Vaal Corruption, Devouring Diadem and Empower to allow us to recall brands very often!


Now as an Elementalist, we are able to apply Shocks at a 20% Base value due to Beacon of Ruin, as long as we are able to apply a shock with our hit. This means that we need some chance to shock and small amount of Lightning Damage on our spells, and we are able to get another ~20% More Damage (depending on other enemy takes increased modifiers). Due to our Tree Pathing and use of Orb of Storms with Ubound Ailments, we can scale the Non-Damaging Ailments stat to increase the effect of our Shock. In total we garner around 55-65% Increased Effect to bring us to an effective ~31-33% Shock! Orb of Storms also serves as a great trigger for Elemental Overload, as well as an applicator for Combustion that reduces enemy fire resistance since we have added flat fire damage to ignite with it. So Orb of Storms is an excellent utility here!


To support our Brands even further, we have Herald of Ash, Anger and Aspect of the Spider! We are able to place Herald of Ash and Anger in the Devouring Diadem to increase their levels and power. Finally, we have a Scorching Ray to debuff stronger targets and a Vaal Righteous Fire that we can trigger for some extra burst damage if necessary!


Defensively, we have a couple of layers:

  1. Aspect of the Spider and a 10+% Chill from Beacon of Ruin (same rules as Shock application!) which hinders enemies movement speed from getting to us.


  1. Since we are using a Staff we can Block and even grab some more Block nodes to bring our native blocks to 42-46% Attack Block and 12% Spell Block. We can also pair this with a Rumi’s Flask while mapping to bring those values all the way to 66% Attack Block and 22% Spell Block with perfect rolls.


  1. We are using Eldritch Battery with Mind over Matter. This brings out effective Life Pool to around ~7k, not too shabby.


  1. Life Leech! This can be gained from an Elder Amulet, Incursion Amulet, Fossil Crafted Ring, Anger Watcher’s Eye or the easiest a Berek’s Grip ring! This is a cheap ring that leech’s life from Shocked Enemies, and as we mentioned before, we are always shocking enemies!


  1. If we do take massive hits, we have the Devouring Diadems Feast of Flesh which instantly restores our entire Life and Energy Shield pools.


With the offensive and defensive mechanics explained, we can move onto the playstyle of the build.




For maps, you will simply want to run up to packs, place down your Brands and press your flasks. After which you can run around or through the packs, pressing your recall when possible to pull the Brands to your location and damage surrounding enemies. If you come across some more dangerous targets, simply cast a few brands in their direction, place an orb of storms to ensure proper triggers/shocks and move around, positioning yourself defensively.



For bosses, you will want to place down your Orb of Storms and all of your brands. You can then let 2 brands go to town on the boss whilst you stand back and use Scorching Ray to debuff fire resistance further while guzzling appropriate Flasks. If you are feeling more daring, you can run circles around the boss, spamming your Brand Recall triggering the rest of the brands on the target, along with the two attached brands. This can lead to higher damage, but can be dangerous depending on the scenario.


The Path of Build Pastebin is included within the Written Script and Description:






The ascendancy of choice is of course the Elementalist. There are arguments for a few other ascendancies for this skill, but Elementalist provides so many useful ailments and damage scaling.


  1. Pendulum of Destruction – This is a powerful node that is ultimately ruined by a timer, making it unreliable for damage or area, but is necessary to get to the next more powerful node!


  1. Mastermind of Discord – Reduced mana reservation for Heralds, increased effect of Heralds and Elemental Penetration for the respective Herald Element! This scales our Herald of Ash power and value.


  1. Shaper of Desolation – Confluxes allow us to always apply their respective ailment of the conflux regardless of our damage types! Unfortunately, this is also on a timer, but is more useful and reliable than Pendulum of Destruction.


  1. Beacon of Ruin – The crowning jewel of the Elementalist, allowing us to apply Chills & Shocks at a base value regardless of the damage that is dealt.


Ascendancy progression:

  1. Pendulum of Destruction
  2. Mastermind of Discord
  3. Shaper of Desolation
  4. Beacon of Ruin


Passive Tree

Here is the final passive tree:



We get the following Keystones:

  1. Elemental Overload – More Elemental Damage as we are not scaling critical strikes.


  1. Mind over Matter – 30% of damage taken is shifted to Mana, but in our case it is taken from Energy Shield due to Eldritch Battery.


  1. Runebinder – Allows for 1 more attached brand per enemy.


Bandits: Kill All


Leveling Trees:

Level 30:

Level 50:

Level 70:




Soul of Lunaris – Movements speed, Phys reduction and some avoidances while mapping! Brine King is best for Endgame content.



Soul of Garukan – More movement speed and avoidance.


Of course you can swap these up depending on situations.


Gem Links

6 Link


Armageddon BrandControlled DestructionHypothermia Faster CastingIncreased Area of EffectCombustion



Armageddon BrandControlled DestructionHypothermia Elemental FocusConcentrated EffectCombustion

For maps, you will want more cast speed and area to improve clearing speeds. For bosses, you can swap out Faster Casting and Increased Area of Effect for Elemental Focus and Concentrated Effect. We can use Elemental Focus since Orb of Storms can still apply our Ailments!


4 Link – Helmet

Anger Herald of AshBrand RecallEmpower (Level 3+)


These are in the helmet for the benefits of the Devouring Diadem. I recommend using the Crafting Bench method of using jewelers to color the helmet’s sockets rather than chromatics.


4 Link – Gloves/Boots

Cast when Damage Taken (Level 1)Flammability (Level 1)  – Desecrate (Level 1) Spell Cascade


This is for providing Corpses for the Devouring Diadem when you are in a location without corpses!


4 Link – Gloves/Boots

Orb of StormsUnbound AilmentsIncreased Critical StrikesCombustion


4 Link – Weapon

Cast when Damage Taken (Level 8)Immortal Call (Level 1)Increased Duration (Level 20)Vaal Righteous Fire (Level 20)


2 Link/Sockets – Weapon

Scorching Ray, Flame Dash


These do not need to be linked, but if they are its no big deal.



For this build, you can certainly start on Rare items and work to get the itemization you need. For the most part, you will want to get gear with good amounts of Energy Shield to improve your effective life pool! Also keep an eye out for Aspect of the Spider on all gear slots! Make sure to check the Written Guide for Affix Priorities.


Main Gear


The Devouring Diadem is the helmet of choice and I highly recommend getting it. If you are unable to get it, you can use a rare in the interim while gathering Eldritch Battery from the Passive Tree.


Rare Affix Priority:


  • +# to Maximum Life
  • +# to Maximum Life / +# to Energy Shield
  • #% Increased Energy Shield
  • -9% Fire Resistance to Nearby Enemies




Here I am currently using a Shroud of the Lightless. It is a great, affordable 6 Link, that while not as powerful as a pure 6 Link, is a great stop-gap. It has a built in Elemental Penetration Gem for the 6th link, Life, Energy Shield and an Abyssal Socket. It also has Shade Form which makes you Immune to Physical Damage and Less Visible to enemies for 3 seconds! My original choice was a Carcass Jack for the Increased Area and Damage, but the damn thing was cursed and would not 6 Link after more than 2 thousand fusings. So I swapped over to a Shroud of the Lightless. You can of course use a rare body armour too or even another unique body armour such as Loreweave.


Rare Affix Priority:


  • +# to Maximum Life
  • +# to Maximum Life / +# to Energy Shield
  • #% Increased Energy Shield
  • #% Increased Maximum Life


  1. +#% to Elemental Resistances



Rare Gloves are great here to fill in Life, Energy Shield, Attributes and Resistances. A great affix to look for here is the Shaper’s “Socketed gems are supported by # Level Blind” which provides a global blind chance, improving defenses!


Rare Affix Priority:


  • +# to Maximum Life
  • +# to Maximum Life / +# to Energy Shield
  • #% Increased Energy Shield
  • Socketed gems are supported by # Level Blind
  • +# to Dexterity
  • +#% to Elemental Resistances




Rare boots are a good choice here as well to get high Movement Speed, Life, Energy Shield and Resistances.


Rare Affix Priority:


  • #% Increased Movement Speed
  • +# to Maximum Life
  • +# to Maximum Life / +# to Energy Shield
  • #% Increased Energy Shield
  • +#% to Elemental Resistances



A Stygian Vise as always, as we can socket in more damage via an Abyss Jewel. Other belt bases, such as Leather will work just as well. Look for Life, Energy Shield, Resistances and oppen affix space to craft on #% Increased Effect of Non-Damaging Ailments!


Rare Affix Priority:


  • +# to Maximum Life
  • +# to Maximum Energy Shield
  • +#% to Elemental Resistances
  • #% Increased Effect of Non-Damaging Ailments
  • #% Flask Effects




Here we want to start looking for Accessories with “Grants level 20 Aspect of the Spider”. You can easily find cheap Amulets and Rings with this affix, so keep your eyes peeled accessories that would fit into your requirements. I was able to get a basic amulet with Dexterity, Life and crafted on some Energy Shield.


Rare Affix Priority:


  • Grants level 20 Aspect of the Spider
  • +# to Maximum Life
  • +# to Dexterity/Strength
  • #% Increased Spell/Fire Damage
  • #% Increased Cast Speed




For rings, we will be using a Berek’s Grip to garner Life Leech against Shocked Enemies. This ring also provides some Life, Resistance and Flat Lightning Damage. For the rare ring, you will want to look for Aspect of the Spider if you do not already have it. If you do, you can search for Shaper or Elder rings for more #% scaling or flat fire damage to spells!


Rare Affix Priority:


  • Grants level 20 Aspect of the Spider
  • +# to Maximum Life/Energy Shield
  • +#% to Elemental Resistance
  • # – # Fire Damage added to Attacks and Spells
  • #% Increased Spell/Fire Damage




Our weapon of choice if the Martyr of Innocence. This Staff provides a solid Block Chance, massive #% Increased Fire Damage and a lot of Flat Fire Damage to Spells. On top of this, if we are to block, we gain 15% Fire Penetration! Overall this is an excellent staff that you can get for a very cheap price, while gaining a lot of damage.



I chose to use the following Flasks:


  1. Rumi’s Concoction – I use this flask for mapping and some bosses to provide extra defense with the base block we have. For endgame boss fights, you can replace this with Wise Oak which gives more fire penetration as long as our fire resistance is the highest uncapped resistance.


  1. Quartz Flask – This flask does provide some dodge, but mainly phasing to allow us to pass through enemies whilst we brand recall. You could also swap this for a basalt if you wish for more flat mitigation.


  1. Silver Flask – More cast and movement speed!


  1. Quicksilver Flask – More movement speed to get through maps quickly. Make sure to roll with “of Adrenaline”.


  1. Life Flask – Finally a generic life flask to recover life in dire situations.



I will show example jewels used in my build within the video and leave the affix priority in the written guide.



The only unique jewel that I use is a “Damage Penetrates #% of Fire Resistance while Affected by Anger” Watcher’s Eye. This is purely for more damage, and is not required by any means.



For regular rare jewels, you will want to be looking for #% Increased Spell/Fire Damage, Life and Cast Speed.


For regular Jewels we want to look for the following Affixes:


  • #% Increased Maximum Life
  • #% Increased Spell/Fire Damage
  • #% Increased Cast Speed
  • #% Increased Damage/Area Damage



You will want at least one Abyss Jewel with flat cold damage on it so you can apply reliable chills to enemies with Orb of Storms!


    • +# to Maximum Life


  • # – # Cold Damage to Spells (While Wielding a Staff/Two Handed Weapon)
  • # – # Fire Damage to Spells (While Wielding a Staff/Two Handed Weapon)
  • #% increased Critical Strike Chance if you haven’t dealt a Critical Strike Recently



For information on leveling the build, check out the written guide!



Leveling this build can be slightly clunky in the beginning. I chose to level with Abberath’s Hooves since they were cheap at the time, but you can of course level without those. Here are some useful leveling uniques.


Useful Uniques:


For your gem progression, I recommend starting with Freezing Pulse, switching to Arc & Storm Brand and then to Armageddon Brand when you get it at level 28. Make sure to push for Runebinder for level 28!


Level 1:


  • Freezing Pulse – Onslaught – Arcane Surge
  • Explosive Trap



Fireball doesn’t really pick up until you can start using Volley, LMP & GMP. So for now we will use Freezing Pulse


Level 4:


  • Freezing Pulse – Volley – Onslaught – Arcane Surge
  • Frost Bomb



Level 8:

  • Freezing Pulse Volley OnslaughtArcane SurgeAdded Cold


Level 10:


  • Flame Dash
  • Clarity



Level 12:


  • Arc – Onslaught – Arcane Surge – Added Cold – Added Lightning
  • Drop Freezing Pulse
  • Storm Brand – Added Lightning – Added Cold
  • Orb of Storms – Increased Critical Strikes



Level 16:

    • Herald of Lightning, Herald of Ice


  • Level a Herald of Ash



Level 18:

    • Arc Controlled DestructionFaster Casting Added Cold Added Lightning


  • Storm Brand – Controlled Destruction – Faster Casting – Elemental Focus



Level 24:


  • Flammability



Level 28:


  • Armageddon Brand – Controlled Destruction – Faster Casting – Combustion
  • Scorching Ray – Controlled Destruction – Faster Casting – Elemental Focus


  • Drop Storm Brand & Arc


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