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DoT Focused Chaos Bolts Warlock Build Guide

Posted by Tevonsonte on March 27, 2024
Last updated on March 31, 2024



This is a fairly generic Chaos Bolts Damage over Time (DoT) build guide.

The aim of this guide isn't to show off a particularly powerful DoT Chaos Bolts build, but rather lay the foundation for building upon any augmentation of a DoT focused Chaos Bolts build that you like. Nearly all of the information here can be applied, with a few alterations of course, to any version of Chaos Bolts you desire. Would you like to play an incredibly versatile skill capable of bleeding it's enemies one day and the next damning them to hell? Well I assume Chaos Bolts is your answer. This ability is truly unique, it can have EQUAL chance to Damned and Ignite on hit per projectile. Using this knowledge, we can make a Chaos Bolts build inflict Bleed, Ignite, Damned, or even Frostbite. This is probably my favorite skill in the game due to it's incredible versatility, although Frostbite is a bit harder to scale as a Warlock compared to other classes as we have no benefits in our tree for Frostbite.

From my own experience, here is a short tier list of DoT Chaos Bolts builds ranked by their scaling with Warlock and ease of gearing.

  1. Full Bleed
  2. Bleed & Ignite (The guide mainly talks about and showcases the gear involved for this setup)
  3. Ignite & Damned
  4. Frostbite & Damned
  5. Full Frostbite

The running theme is that Bleed is incredibly easy to scale, has some of the most nodes for increasing total Bleed chance, and has a great Overload Mastery, Cauldron of Blood 5/8, inside the Warlock tree.

Pros & Cons


DoT Focused

Great AoE

Red and Orange Effects look great

No Unique Items Required

Incredibly Versatile main skill


3 "Active" Skills

Has some very bad build variants, creating a sort of "meta" around Bleed

A bit on the Squishy side

Gameplay / Mechanics

In Monoliths, you'll be running around with Transplant and keeping yourself safe with Profane Veil whenever you get surrounded or need to dodge a targeted skill. Attack back with Chaos Bolts by either manually casting it or throwing down Chthonic Fissure to help get extra projectiles in the fight. Because this is a DoT focused build, don't expect your enemies to die in just a single cast, but you can walk away early and let them tick down if you are in a rush. The best way to deal with a large group of enemies is to play around your Chthonic Fissure, use your movement skills to help keep your enemies on top of the Chthonic Fissure while stacking your DoT effects with Chaos Bolts.

For Bosses, you will want 100% uptime on your Chthonic Fissure and spend as long as possible standing still between mechanics casting Chaos Bolts. In modest gear you should be able to reach upwards of 200 stacks for both Bleed and Ignite depending on the size of your target. The best way to know when Chthonic Fissure needs to be recast is when you see the rocky effect that the skill produces fade away. If the fight is graphically intensive and you cannot keep an eye on your Chthonic Fissure animations, you will want to get in the habit of casting it about every 8 seconds. The base duration of Chthonic Fissure should be between 5 to 6 seconds and your Chaos Bolts will extend it by 2 seconds every 3 seconds due to The Burn 1/1. In short, constantly casting Chaos Bolts should bring your total Chthonic Fissure duration to nearly 10 seconds.

When using The Burn 1/1, it is important to note that when the duration of an active Chthonic Fissure exceeds 7 seconds its ground animation completely disappears. The only way to know if it is still active is by watching for the Tormenting Spirits which are still being released from where it's graphic used to be.

Transplant can be used offensively because of the Acolyte's Fervor 3/3 node to boost your Cast Speed.

Triggering Bone Curse from casting Chaos Bolts does not count as a "Direct Cast" and therefore does not trigger the Profane Veil cooldown via the Stream of Profanity 2/5 node. This is why I generally don't take more than 1 - 2 points in this node when using Chaos Bolts as a main skill.



Stat Priorities


Skip this small section if you wish to ignore Uniques for now.

Good Offensive Uniques for this build include Immolator's Oblation, Alchemist's Ladle, and Maehlin's Hubris.

These are optional, but can provide great benefits if you would like to hunt them down:

Good Defensive Uniques I would keep my eye on include Boneclamor Barbute, Twisted Heart of Uhkeiros, Cradle of the Erased, Valdyr's Chalice.

Each of these have their own benefits that you may prefer over one another or over a generic Exalted item:

  • Boneclamor Barbute you have probably seen everywhere, it provides PrefixIntelligence, a healthy amount of SuffixArmour, and the ability to Generate Ward Per Second based on your overcapped SuffixNecrotic Resistance. It provides a lot of effective health, meaning it buffs your total life pool without much effort on your end.
  • Twisted Heart of Uhkeiros converts our Total HP % into Ward and because Chaos Bolts has innate Health leech and we can grab Leech elsewhere, this provides consistent Ward Generation while casting. It also has the bonus of having % SuffixHealth and +1 to all Fire and Necrotic Skills. Although we convert Chaos Bolts to Physical and Fire, this is still useful.
  • Cradle of the Erased is interesting if you wish to help yourself out defensively by Blocking hits. By itself it provides roughly 60% Block Chance and the ability to gain Ward on Block. If you want to tinker with Block this would be an item for you.
  • Valdyr's Chalice is an alternate relic for the bleed enjoyers. It provides great sustain while going through Monoliths and steady sustain due to us being able to easily stack 100+ Bleeds. However, if used alongside Maehlin's Hubris, the items SuffixChance to Bleed on Hit will be converted to SuffixChance to Ignite on Hit instead.

Remember that bases do not matter in the short term. Get your ideal stats then hunt the perfect base. If you find useful affixes on a bad base, just run with it.

In the section below, I've mainly listed prefix options to look out for on gear, my approach to leaving out suffixes here is mainly for Filter / Start up gearing purposes. I find being specific with your prefixes and much looser on suffixes provides you with a healthy supply of gear to swap in and out depending on your resistances, or when a really nice item drops with specific suffixes that don't quite work for your character without doing other gear swaps.

For Suffixes focus on:

For Prefixes:

Ring 1

PrefixDamage Over Time


Any Resistances Needed

Ring 2

PrefixDamage Over Time


Any Resistances Needed


PrefixDamage Over Time

PrefixFire Penetration

SuffixChance to Ignite on Hit

Any Resistances Needed


Below is a list of Idols I think are great, however any idol with a resistance suffix to help you cap resists is useful too. Don't be so strict when looking for items.


Don't worry about getting your ideal blessings before hitting Empowered Monoliths. Even alternative options are the best choice until you acquire better gear! Regular Monolith Blessings that provide resistances are great while gearing in the midgame.

Build Variants


Leveling as this build is quite easy, start out with Rip Blood and Wandering Spirits, specialize Rip Blood first. Focus on acquiring items with PrefixPhysical Damage, PrefixCast Speed, PrefixIntelligence, and any Resistances. Once you unlock your Warlock mastery, you can start working with Chthonic Fissure and unlock Chaos Bolts. Spam Chaos Bolts, scoop up PrefixDamage Over Time items and use Chthonic Fissure on large packs of mobs or bigger enemies. For those following the 100% Bleed path, your leveling gear is already perfect stat wise for your entrance into Monoliths, otherwise for those who wish to do a Hybrid Ignite Bleed, look out for items that have SuffixChance to Ignite on Hit and PrefixSpell Damage.

Make sure to always stay within 5 levels under the area you are running through, this is easily checked by pressing "C" to open the Character Panel then pressing "Tab" to see the Enemy Level by your Minimap. If you find yourself too low, kill more. Too high? Ignore enemies more.

I will link a leveling Build Variant showcasing the skills and early Skill Trees I would use while leveling.


Once you have fully cleared each Empowered Monolith at least once, work towards getting at least 200 Corruption in the timelines that provide the most benefits from their Empowered Blessings. By completing an Empowered Timeline with 200 Corruption you will unlock an extra 5th choice when presented options to pick out a Blessing. This is incredibly useful when farming for specific Empowered Blessings or trying to min-max your rolls.

Keep an eye out for any Uniques with LP that drop so that you can further enhance your character. This also means looking for Exalted items within the same category to use as fuel for them. See the Gearing Section if you need help figuring out which Exalted Affixes you will want to pick up.

For this build, it is fairly easy to find a Boneclamor Barbute with 2LP and a Cradle of the Erased which drops with 10+ Weavers Will. Farming Twisted Heart of Uhkeiros with even 1 LP may take awhile so consider yourself somewhat satisfied if you find a well rolled version without any LP. My general rule for farming LP is if it is considered a "common" drop when you look it up on this website, shoot for 2LP. Otherwise 1 LP is fine and don't hold onto a "really good" Exalted item in hopes you find the perfect 3 or 4LP item.

If you want to push corruption or arena and are struggling with damage output, consider swapping to a Bleed variant.

Loot Filter

I won't link my own filter here since it is not specifically dedicated for this build, but if you wish to make your own I recommend starting from the following rules:

  1. Exalted Items with T6+ of any desired affix
  2. Show All Uniques
  3. Any Item with Hybrid Health or Experimental Affixes (useful for shattering)

Early Game Rules:

  1. Any Belt/Ring/Amulet with Resistances, Critical Strike Avoidance of any tier
  2. Any Chest with Resistances and Intellect
  3. Any Boots with Resistances, Movement Speed
  4. Any Gloves with Resistances, Intellect

Mid Game Rules (Combined Tiers >= 10):

  1. Any Belt/Ring/Amulet with Resistances, Critical Strike Avoidance
  2. Any Chest with Resistances, % Increased Health, Chthonic Fissure Spirit Frequency or +Level to Chthonic Fissure, Reduced Damage from Critical Strikes
  3. Any Boots with Resistances, Movement Speed, Intellect, Reduced Damage from Critical Strikes
  4. Any Gloves with Resistances, Intellect, Hybrid Health, Area for Area Skills, Reduced Damage from Critical Strikes

End Game Rules (Combined Tiers >= 15):

  1. Any Belt/Ring/Amulet with Resistances, Critical Strike Avoidance, Intellect, Spell / Fire / Physical Damage
  2. Any Chest with Resistances, % Increased Health, Chthonic Fissure Spirit Frequency or +Level to Chthonic Fissure, Reduced Damage from Critical Strikes
  3. Any Boots with Resistances, Movement Speed, Intellect, Reduced Damage from Critical Strikes
  4. Any Gloves with Resistances, Intellect, Hybrid Health, Area for Area Skills, Reduced Damage from Critical Strikes

I recommend using combined tier totals to make finding craft-able items easier. You can add the Early, Middle, and Endgame rules under 1 filter and either turn them off as needed or set a rough Level range for each of them.

If you want to do a Level range and need a suggestion for it, do 0 - 60 as Early, 61 - 80 as Mid, and 81 - 100 as End Game. These are not solid level ranges for each player, the Mid and End game rules vary depending on how quickly you make it to Monoliths and Empowered Monoliths and how fast you can farm them.


How did you create your tier list for which ailments are best for Chaos Bolts?

  • I've slowly acquired a massive stash of similar gear and tested out the different varieties of Chaos Bolts around the 250 Corruption range. Although 200 - 300 Corruption is not very high in terms of endgame content, I believe if a build cannot feel comfortable running through empowered monoliths at this level it is most likely not worth writing a full guide about.

What about Low Life?



  • Updated Skill Tree for Profane Veil
  • Added Low Life Option to FAQ
  • Added Low Life Option to FAQ
  • Grammar Updates
  • Build guide was published


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