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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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