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Build Info & Playstyle

Last Updated: August 15th 2023

Trial of the Ancestors 3.22

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Ethereal Knives Ignite Elementalist Endgame Build Info & Playstyle.

Build Info


Ethereal Knives, or short "EK", is a Physical Damage based spell that throws multiple magical knives in front of the caster. The play style itself reminds me of a hit-and-run gameplay. Depending on our Ignite duration and damage, we most likely cast EK a single time per screen since our explosion weapon modifier, Ignite Proliferation and Herald of Ash takes care of the rest.

Key Build Information

To maximize our damage output, we fully convert Ethereal Knives Physical Damage into Cold Damage. Afterwards, we convert a portion of the Cold Damage into Fire Damage. Damage Conversion is done before any increases or damage multipliers apply. However, converted damage is affected by modifiers that apply to the original damage as well to the type it was converted to.

Damage Conversion

Damage Conversion comes in two forms:

  • Converted to - % of [Damage Type] Converted to [Damage Type].
    • Example: 30% of Physical Damage converted to Cold Damage.
  • Added as - % of [Damage Type] Added as [Damage Type] or Gain #% of [Damage Type] as Extra [Damage Type].
    • Example: Gain 15% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage.

Converted to

When we convert damage, the original damage is replaced with the converted damage. Conversion is a stackable mod, but cannot exceed 100%. If the combined value is above 100%, the values are scaled so that the total amount remains 100%.

Damage conversion flows in one way, able to skip types but can never go in reverse:

Physical -> Lightning -> Cold -> Fire -> Chaos

Added as

This modifier does not replace the damage type as conversion does. Instead, it takes a portion of the damage and adds it to the total damage as a different damage type.

If we deal 1000 Physical damage and add an Item that grants Gain 15% of Physical Damage as Extra Fire Damage, we deal 1150 Damage total (1000 Physical Damage & 150 Fire Damage).

Why do we convert Damage?

As we are adding sources of converted to and added as, we stack more and more damage and thanks to our Ascendancy Node Shaper of Flames, all our combined damage is able to inflict a massive ignite.

Mathematical illustration

We assume that our base Ethereal Knives damage deals 1000 Physical Damage. If we add 100% of Physical Damage converted to Cold Damage through our Cold Mastery, a Watcher's Eye with the Hatred conversion mod and (30-35)% of Physical Damage converted to Cold Damage on our Gloves (veiled mod), we deal 1000 Cold Damage instead of 1000 Physical Damage.

If we now activate Herald of Purity, which gives us 12% more Physical Damage and Hatred, which grants 18% more Cold Damage, we turn our base 1000 Physical Damage into 1120 Physical Damage (Herald of Purity), convert everything into 1120 Cold Damage and add Hatreds 18% more Cold Damage on top, giving us additional 171 Cold Damage to achieve a total of 1322 Cold Damage. Hatred also adds 25% of Physical Damage as Extra Cold Damage, adding another 280 Cold Damage. Later on, we convert a portion of our existing Cold Damage to Fire Damage, thanks to Cold to Fire Support.

If we add Gloomfang Amulet, we gain (20-35)% of Non-Chaos Damage as extra Chaos Damage, which takes the Non-Chaos Damage at every step of conversion and adds extra Chaos Damage on top.

Essentially, we scaled our total Damage trough converted to and added as. Our Herald of Purity being a Physical Damage buff, increased our Fire Damage, thanks to Physical to Cold Conversion and Cold to Fire Support.

This was just a brief overview on how conversion works and why we do it. This build uses a variety of conversions and sources of added as mechanics to scale its damage.

Build Scaling


The EK-Ignite Elementalist is a Damage over Time based Character, scaling Ignites with the following modifiers:

  • 100% Physical Damage converted to Cold Damage
  • Sources of Physical Damage as Extra Damage (Cold, Fire, Chaos)
  • Ignites you inflict deal Damage X% faster
  • Fire Damage over Time Multiplier and other sources of Global Damage over Time Multipliers
  • Generic Damage Increases (Physical, Cold, Fire, Elemental, …)
  • Auras scaling (X% increased effect of Non-Curse Auras from your Skills)
  • Fire Exposure (lowers specific elemental resistance)
  • Curses (Flammability, Elemental Weakness)
  • Frenzy Charges

Faster Ignites?

There are multiple sources of Ignites you inflict deal Damage X% faster modifiers on Gear, passive Tree and Jewels. This mod can also come as Damaging Ailments you inflict deal Damage X% faster, which affects both, Ignites and Poisons. But what does that mean?

If our Ignite deals 1000 Fire Damage over 4 seconds, it deals 250 Damage per second. If we now add Ignites you inflict deal Damage 25% faster, we still deal 1000 Fire Damage total but in 3 seconds instead. Basically, faster ignites squeezes the total amount of damage done per ignite in a shorter period of time, increasing our damage per second in the process, but not our total damage per ignite done. It still lets us apply the next Ignite a second earlier than without faster Ignites, essentially increasing our total damage done in a certain period of time.

To achieve a multi-layered defence system, we are utilizing all 3 core defences, Armour, Evasion and Energy Shield. Therefore, we use Determination, Grace and Discipline as our default Auras. With the Eldritch Battery and Mind Over Matter combo, we ensure that we always have enough Energy Shield to cast our abilities and Blessing Auras, as well as enabling a dual-leech layer, since 40% of the incoming damage is taken from Mana (Energy Shield with Eldritch Battery) before Health. We get Life Leech from Gloomfang and Energy Shield leech from our Passive Skill Tree. Skin of the Loyal is an insane adaption for the Build since it scales all 3 base defensive types with its modifier 100% increased Global Defences, basically giving us 100% increased Armour, 100% increased Evasion as well as 100% increased Energy Shield.

To further improve our layers of defence, we want Evasion / Energy Shield hybrid items, as we want to achieve 100% Spell Suppression. Flasks do also play an important role, since Granite Flask provides us with a massive boost to flat Armour and Jade Flask with Evasion. Taste of Hate is an offensive and defensive choice, converting incoming Physical Damage to Cold Damage, and giving us Physical Damage as extra Cold Damage.

The most important stats we focus on to make sure our defences scale effectively are:

  • 100% increased Global Defenses from Skin of the Loyal
  • Armour, Evasion and Energy Shield from Gear, Flasks, Skill Tree and Gems
  • Capped Elemental Resistances
  • Positive or capped Chaos Resistance
  • 100% Spell Suppression
  • 100% Ailment Avoidance
  • Corrupted Blood Immunity
  • Aura Effect
  • Life & Energy Shield leech

With all these defensive layers against Hit-damage our main weakness remains Damage over Time. As a result, we always try to maintain a high uptime on a target if we are degenerating, as leech and life regeneration (Gear & Vitality) effectively sustains Damage over Time.


Bandits: Kill all

To learn how the Pantheon works, feel free to read our Pantheon Guide!

Brine King: For Major Pantheon, select Brine King to not get stun-locked by monsters. Additional bonuses are not baseline and need to be acquired with a Divine Vessel.

Abberath: For Minor Pantheon, select Abberath and upgrade it. This grants Unaffected by Burning Ground, which is essential for Searing Exarch Altar Farming. Alternatively, consider selecting Ralakesh until you gain Corrupted Blood from a flask suffix or a jewel with corruption.



Next to our main Auras, we have 2 swappable Auras that we can use based on your situation: Haste and Malevolence. We skill into Eldritch Battery, so we can utilize our Energy Shield as Mana. While mapping, we activate Haste with Divine Blessing Support to gain increased movement-, attack- and cast speed.

Map Modifiers

The following modifiers are impossible to run on the build:

  • Monsters reflect #% of Elemental Damage
    • (unless we add Bastion of Elements)

The following modifiers should be avoided if possible:

  • Monsters have X% chance to Avoid Elemental Ailments
  • Players have X% reduced effect of Non-Curse Auras from Skills
  • Players cannot Regenerate Life, Mana or Energy Shield


Similar to our mapping play style, we swap Haste for Malevolence to gain another "more damage multiplier". On top of that, cast Arcanist Brand on the target to benefit from Hydrosphere, Flame Surge and Combustion Support lowering the enemies Fire Resistance and further increasing our Damage. Since we use the Gloomfang amulet, we can chain our EK-Projectile off the Hydrosphere to gain additional Non-Chaos Damage as extra Chaos Damage.

Farming Strategies

First step is to progress through the Atlas following our Atlas Progression Guide. As a mapping focused character we should focus on the mechanics listed below depending on what level of content our character is currently capable of completing. If struggling in higher tier content, it is always recommended to go a step back and farm up more Currency and Gear. Clicking the League Mechanics below leads to either a full Explanation Guide or a detailed Currency Farming Guide based around maximizing profits from that mechanic or content.


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