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Infernal Flame Whip Warlock Build Guide

Posted by Tevonsonte on March 17, 2024
Last updated on March 22, 2024



This build is centered around the unique weapon Spine of Malatros which enables Chthonic Fissure to cast Flame Whip instead of releasing a Tormenting Spirit. To further push home our fire theme, explode everything in sight with Infernal Shade. Debuff the rare mobs with Bone Curse, providing additional damage whenever Flame Whip hits your target. Profane Veil is a great tool for damage immunity but it can cast up to 8 Infernal Shades cleaving everything in sight when it explodes.

If you want to play Chthonic Fissure before getting this legendary, then be warned that the skill tree in this guide may not be optimal until the Unique weapon is acquired.

The gear listed here is for a hybrid life / ward setup, if you want to find a low life setup, navigate to the alterative builds section. As a reminder, suffixes are HIGHLY DEPENDENT on your character. Take my BiS gear with a grain of salt especially when it comes to suffixes. I will detail more ideas and examples inside the gearing section.

Unfortunately from my testing, as of 3/16, Flame Whip does not gain extra Ignite Chance from any node inside Chthonic Fissure. Hopefully this is a bug.

Pros & Cons


NOT a DoT Build

Very Mobile

Using the spine of a dragon as a weapon

Fiery Explosions are fun

Scales very well with multiple stacked targets


Requires Unique Weapon Spine of Malatros

DPS is generally WEAKER than our DoT Warlock counterparts

Two Active Skills

Boss Killing around ~250 Corruption and above becomes slower than most builds

Gameplay / Mechanics

In Monoliths this build really shines, utilize Infernal Shade combined with Legion 2/2 and it's Reduced Duration to explode packs of mobs with Combustion 1/1. Whenever you find a rare mob or an Exile Mage, mark it with Bone Curse and throw out your Chthonic Fissure which will cast Flame Whip. In especially large or dangerous packs, Profane Veil will cast up to 8 Infernal Shades with the Infernal Deliverance 4/4 node to provide an incredible burst of damage while making us immune to all damage expect DoT effects.

For Bosses, prioritize maximum uptime on Chthonic Fissure for your Flame Whip and use Bone Curse manually or by pressing Profane Veil which will automatically apply our Bone Curse for us. Bone Curse is specialized to mark a SINGLE enemy but have infinite duration, which helps greatly with the Quality of Life with this build. Our Bone Curse will also apply Marked For Death to the target for an infinite duration. It is important when using Infernal Shade on Bosses or other Single Target encounters that you do not spam the spell. Wait for the explosion before re-casting Infernal Shade. Not only will you end up out of mana quickly, but casts of Infernal Shade will overwrite one another resulting in the Combustion 1/1 trait never activating. Overall you should have quite a lot of downtime between Chthonic Fissure and Infernal Shade for dodging attacks. See below for information on how the Legion 2/2 node operates on Single Target.

For our movement, utilize Profane Veil when things feel a little unsafe and Transplant to get around and directly avoid attacks.

For those curious about Infernal Shade and how the Legion 2/2 node interacts on single target, you will still generate 3 different Shades. The main difference being they will all overwrite each other resulting in only the last Infernal Shade ticking it's full duration. However, if a Blaze Shade 1/1 is chosen as any of the first two instances spawned, the explosion from Combustion 1/1 amplified by Blaze Shade 1/1 has such a short duration that the final Infernal Shade attaches to the target which is neat. So there are some positive feedback loops from Legion 2/2, Fleeting Shade 1/1, and Combustion 1/1.

This build is mainly a Critical Strike Hit based, build. Though there is some passive Ignite stacking to smooth out our lackluster Single Target performance but we do not invest into it heavily. Although the ignite chance helps scale Chthonic Fissure Hit and Flame Whip via Fissure of Wrath 1/1.

Our main pack clearing ability, Infernal Shade, scales incredibly well with Critical Strikes due to Combustion 1/1 and Flame Burst 1/1. The star of the show Flame Whip gets added PrefixCritical Strike Multiplier from our over-capped SuffixNecrotic Resistance due to Spine of Malatros, unfortunately there are not many nodes for Chthonic Fissure which are directly tied to Critical Strikes, but we pick up Forbidden Chasm 1/1 to help increase our chance to critical strike an enemy with ANY ability.

Equipment mods such as PrefixCritical Strike Chance and PrefixIncreased Critical Strike Chance For You And Your Minions, can greatly aid our Critical Strike consistency. NOTE: These mods only give a percentage increase of our "base" Critical Value, open your character panel for the specific base number, ideally for this build we would want to see ~25% if possible. This may not sound like much but due to our Skill Trees, this ends up being closer to 50% for Infernal Shade and around 40% for Flame Whip.



Stat Priorities


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 leave 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 resistances that don't quite work for your character without doing other gear swapping.

For Suffixes focus on:

For Prefixes:


None here, we use Spine



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 item drops!


Don't worry about getting the "perfect" blessings before hitting Empowered Monoliths, sometimes even alternative options are the best choice until you acquire better gear! Regular Monolith Blessings that provide resists are great while gearing in the midgame.

I have listed some Non-Grand Blessings I found useful before I reached Empowered Monos

Build Variants


Because of the required unique Spine of Malatros, I don't recommend leveling as this build. If you do wish to level with it regardless, prioritize the Tormenting Spirit nodes in the Chthonic Fissure tree such as Damned Waters 3/3, don't bother picking up Forbidden Chasm and delay Fissure of Wrath until you have some SuffixChance to Ignite on Hit sources from your gear or idols.


The most farmable items for this build are Boneclamor Barbute and Spine of Malatros. The goal should be getting LP 2 for each of these since they are "common". Ideally for hybrid life and ward we acquire a well rolled Twisted Heart of Uhkeiros with at least 1 LP or an Ambitions of an Erased Acolyte with PrefixCritical Strike Multiplier and PrefixCritical Strike Chance as shown in the low life build variant. These two Relics can be interchangeable depending on your character's gear and preference.

Pushing Single Target:

If you want to tune up your Bossing a bit, I recommend playing around with your Infernal Shade Skill Tree by removing Legion 2/2, reducing Wildfires 3/5, and in favor of Hellfire 1/1. Hellfire 1/1 will also give you a lot more downtime for mechanics as you must path through Cackling Flames 2/5 decreasing the frequency you must cast this ability on Single Target. Also adding Torment Beacon 5/5 can help smooth out the overall damage from Infernal Shade by adding extra stacks of Ignite since the frequency of Combustion 1/1 explosions goes down with Hellfire 1/1.

On the other hand, if you enjoy the explosions, I recommend taking points out of Torment Beacon 2/5 to path to Purgatory 1/1 which will now create opportunities for you to "lure" enemies into your Infernal Shade which can gain up to 150% PrefixFire Penetration while it sits on the ground without a target. This does make the playstyle for nuianced as you constantly have to cast Infernal Shade away from a target and will provide no bonus on stationary bosses or rare mobs ( like spires).

Pushing Total Throughput - Skill Swaps:

If you wish to push corruption beyond the 400-500 range with this build, best of luck. Flame Whip isn't quite strong enough in a Hit based build to push high corruption. Consider swapping around your gear to buff Damage Over Time effects and grab nodes inside Chthonic Fissure like Chronicles of Ruin 4/4 to stack a lot of DoT effects. If you prefer this route, dropping Infernal Shade for Chaos Bolts may provide you with more consistent damage as well as a huge boost to Single Target through The Burn 1/1, A Grave for Two 1/1 and the sheer amount of projectiles hitting a single target that can stack Ignite and Damned several times per cast. If you do drop Infernal Shade, it may also be worth removing Bone Curse in favor of the superior Spirit Plague. Spirit Plague provides immense value to DoT builds from Pestilence 3/3 which can be triggered whenever the spell is refreshed by Chaos Bolts or manually cast, giving you 100% uptime on the buff. Also each projectile from Chaos Bolts can trigger Putrid Recovery 3/3 as well as refresh the duration of Spirit Plague infinitely due to Cursed Blood 1/1.

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)
  4. Any Belt/Ring/Amulet with Resistances, Critical Strike Avoidance of any tier (early game)
  5. Any Belt/Ring/Amulet with Resistances, Critical Strike Avoidance of combined tiers >= 6 (mid game)
  6. Any Belt/Ring/Amulet with Resistances, Critical Strike Avoidance, Intellect, Fire Damage, Critical Strike Chance of combined tiers >= 15 (end game)
  7. Any Chest with Resistances, Chthonic Fissure Spirit Frequency of any tier (early game)
  8. Any Boots with Resistances, Movement Speed, Reduced Damage from Critical Strikes, Chthonic Fissure Spirit Frequency of combined tiers >= 10 (mid game)
  9. Any Gloves with Resistances, Intellect, Critical Strike Chance, Hybrid Health, Reduced Damage from Critical Strikes of combined tiers >= 15 (end game)

I recommend combined tier total to make finding modifiable items easier.




  • Fixed some grammar
  • Updated Chthonic Fissure Tree pathing
  • Updated Chthonic Fissure Tree to include +3 Fissure Node
  • Removed FAQ section as it's completely redundant in its current state
  • Build guide was published


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