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Discussion Of The Defensive Layers Of Molten Strike Pathfinder In POE 3.22 - Transcendence Explained

Nov 25, 2023

Today, we are going to talk about Transcendence Keystone, inspired by Molten Strike Pathfinder from HC Trade League at Trial of the Ancestors.

You might think this is just another near-immortal Pathfinder build. This is true to an extent. Pathfinder is extremely powerful right now, which has spawned some of the most powerful builds in the game.

But what’s interesting about this build is that the maximum elemental resistance using Transcendence and Eternal Damnation is 55%. This is a huge drawback and is usually the first thing players address when using these mechanics.

The disadvantage is the maximum resistance to scaling through the gears, which most people will completely offset with Loreweave. This drawback but this build completely ignores it, even using Eternal Damnation. This further applies a minus 5% to the maximum resistance.

Here we’ll break down the layers of defense that make up this extremely tanky build and discuss why low maximum elemental resistance is actually beneficial for the type of content it designed the build for.

Discussion Of The Defensive Layers Of Molten Strike Pathfinder In POE 3.22 - Transcendence Explained

Defensive Layers Explained

This build is still pretty bulky, so what the heck is going on here. Let’s take a look at its layers of defense. Because this build doesn’t use Loreweave to free up body armor slots, this makes it easier for elements to reach 100% physical damage.

So here this build uses Lightning Coil to deal with 50% of the physical damage from hits as lightning damage, and Dawnbreaker to deal with 18% of fire damage. Then Veiled modifier on the helmet adds another 8%. Finally, improved Taste of Hate Flask to increase it by 24%, bringing the total to 100%.

This build also has 100% Spell Suppression, and a single Tattoo also provides an additional 3% Spell Damage Suppression. Also, by using Ancestral Vision, it has a 50% chance of avoiding Elemental Ailment. The remaining 50% is made up of Thick Skin life wheel and Eldritch Implicit Modifiers on the boots.

POE: Transcendence Keystone Highlight Series

Next up is Transcendence Keystone, which applies the armor’s damage reduction to elemental damage instead of physical damage. As we’ve already discussed, this build takes no physical damage from hits, all of which are converted to elemental damage. And Transcendence also imposes a very large maximum elemental resistance penalty on the character.

This build adds almost no armor to the skill tree. Therefore, all armors from Iron Reflexes are combined with Determination and Grace. We also invested POE Currency in these Auras to increase Aura effect by about 50%.

There is also an added modifier on Ruby Flask, which is affected by Flask effect and ends up getting about a 100% armor increase. This brings the total armor value to around 100,000.

Next up is Eternal Damnation. This unique amulet applies a further minus 5% to all max resistances, but reduces elemental damage based on half your total Chaos Resistance. Here, it also provides an additional 35% of elemental damage reduction, which also applies to elemental damage over time.

POE: New Amulet Eternal Damnation

Since it’s Pathfinder, we’ve set up Flask to provide further mitigation and a range of recoveries. Ruby Flask and Topaz Flask reduce fire and lightning damage by 38% respectively. Taste of Hate and Sapphire Flask have the same cold damage modifier, which reduces cold damage by 33%.

Progenesis Amethyst Flask prevents 25% health loss from damage on hit and disappears over the next 4 seconds. We also improved this Flask with Flask Effect, which increases this percentage to 41%.

In addition, Master Surgeon can provide long-lasting results for Life Flask. This means that Divine Life Flask can regenerate approximately 2,000 health points per second, which is of course the main defensive layer content of any tanking Pathfinder build.


So let’s put all of this into an example. Suppose this character encounters a large and terrifying monster and uses a spell to attack Pathfinder, causing 30,000 points of physical damage. 15,000 of this damage is lightning damage, 7,800 is fire damage, and the remaining 7,200 is cold damage.

First, we can apply resistance, reducing damage by 55%. The armor then provides elemental damage reduction due to Transcendence. Importantly, armor is applied to each elemental damage type individually, making the reduction it provides more effective.

Because the armor is stronger against smaller attacks before armor reduction is applied. It therefore added the additional elemental damage reduction from Eternal Damnation to this reduction to provide a total percentage of elemental damage reduction, capped at a hard cap of 90%.

Then the damage reduction modifiers on Ruby Flask, Topaz Flask, and Sapphire Flask come into play, reducing lightning and fire damage by 38%, and cold damage by 33%. And since the hit is a spell, Spell Suppression is also applied, further reducing the damage by 53%.

Finally, if Molten Shell is inactive, it will remove damage taken from health. So Progenesis prevents 41% of the damage, which disappears within the next 4 seconds.

The character loses 237 health immediately and 164 health over 4 seconds. The 30,000 damage here comes out to 401 damage. You can see how unwieldy this build is, even with 55% max elemental resistance.

Elemental Penetration

But to understand the true strength of this setup, we need to look at Elemental Penetration. This build is intended to be one of the common and very dangerous modifiers found on Delve mines and nodes. As Elemental Penetration goes deeper and deeper, the lower the resistance of the target, the less effective the penetration will be.

POE: How elemental penetration works and why it's strong?

For example, if a character has 90% fire resistance and they take 10,000 fire damage. They take 90% less damage and take 1,000 fire damage.

But if the monster still has 10% Fire Penetration, it will reduce the damage by 80%, and the character will suffer 2000 points of fire damage. This means that 10% Fire Penetration causes the character to actually take 100% more damage than he would otherwise have taken.

If a character has 50% Fire Penetration, they take 5,000 fire damage and counter the same attack with 10% Fire Penetration. They take 6,000 points of fire damage, effectively taking 20% more damage.

Not only does it have a much lower maximum drag than other very tanky setups. And there are multiple layers of mitigation to offset any added damage caused by infiltration.

Scaling Armor vs Max Resistance

Now, it’s interesting to see when you should scale armor and when you should scale maximum elemental resistance. Especially considering that armor is easier to get than max resistance.

Of course, elemental damage can naturally be very dangerous over time. If you can’t offset the heavy resistance penalty on Pathfinder build, you can also do that with the elemental damage reduction provided by Eternal Damnation and Flask build, which deals less damage. And of course Life Flask’s life regeneration.

If you’re able to invest in sources of damage mitigation over time, it may be more advantageous for you to scale your armor when using Transcendence. Because it’s usually easier to scale armor by a meaningful amount than max resistance. So modifiers that increase armor are still very effective.

Hopefully, this guide helps you understand this underutilized approach to Transcendence. If you use Transcendence in your build, this will be even more welcome in the next league when the relatively easy way to get the most resistance from tattoos disappears!


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