Rating all of Luo Lei’s Ascensions, along with miscellaneous gameplay tips.
This guide assumes Nightmare Difficulty and Solo Play.
Occult scrolls are not factored, as this is a general guide and you cannot rely on getting specific scrolls.
Why to Play Luo Lei (or why not to play)
+ High natural mobility
+ Long/mid ranged playstyle (usually)
=Very consistent playstyle because of guaranteed sniper drops and limited ascension variety
-Very poor hp/shield (without a specific starting talent)
-Sometimes lacks sustained damage
-High Ascension RNG, since many of them are quite poor.
Chain Lightning builds: important details
Unfortunately even with all the support it has, Chain Lightning has problems scaling into the lategame. The damage does not reliably keep up with the enemy health unless you get quite lucky with your ascension and occult scroll selections. That’s not to say Chain Lightning can’t be viable, it’s just inferior to the other build paths Luo has.
If you want to make a Chain Lightning build anyways, you must pick the “Chain Lightning elemental effect chance is boosted to 50%” starting talent. This will let you rely on elemental fusions for your lategame damage so you are not extremely reliant on getting specific ascensions. It is also HIGHLY recommended that one of your weapon slots is reserved for a Corrosive weapon. There will be a separate tier list for Chain Lightning builds as they are extremely different in ascension choices and playstyle; They are typically mid range as opposed to other long-range Luo builds.
“Chain Lightning elemental effect chance is raised to 50%”
This is the most build influencing perk you can pick. Chain Lighting needs this talent to reliably scale to endgame, since you can now somewhat reliably get it to trigger Shock for elemental fusions. If you want to make a Chain Lightning build, you’re basically forced to take this. Not as useful for a standard build though.
“50% chance to not consume Chain Lightning resources during Fatal Current”
This one on the other hand, is a waste. Effectively it makes it so every other cast of Chain Lightning during Fatal Current doesn’t use ammo. This doesn’t help fix the problem that Chain Lightning will probably just be tickling the enemies late game. Not to mention you don’t manually cast Chain Lightning a lot anyways.
“+0.5% permanent weapon damage after Crit. hit kill from more than 15m away”
The best of the damage bonus talents. You have to actively try to keep your distance to build stacks of this though; Even though Luo Lei usually likes to hang back, 15m is still quite far. It’s worth it though, as the damage bonus keeps scaling well into the game. Also has no penalty for bosses, unlike the other two flat damage talents.
“+30% damage to enemies above 80% combined health/shield/armor”
This is great for MS (Magical Supply) builds, and still decent but less useful on other builds. This gets more value the higher damage your first shot does, so it gives more value to the harder hitting rifles/bows rather than the rapid fire ones. Doesn’t help much on bosses unless you can one-shot them, but at that point it’s not like it really matters anyways.
“+50% lucky shot chance against enhanced monsters”
Provides a pretty hefty damage bonus against enhanced monsters (monsters with prefixes like ‘corrosive’ or ‘robust’ in their names). These enemies are usually higher priority to kill so this is generally useful. Doesn’t do anything for bosses though.
“Start the game with a Patrimonial Sniper Rifle”
Useless. This starts you with a random Level 1 Sniper Rifle or Bow that you will replace as soon as a better one drops (and being Luo Lei… they will always drop). There is a chance you can get something like a Goshawk with the Auto-Aim inscription and keep that for the rest of the game, but that’s extremely unlikely.
“+20 max shield, -50% shield recovery interval (from 3.5s to 1.75s)”
Nice, reliable defensive talent. Higher max shield means you recharge shield faster, and the recovery interval reduction is really helpful.
“Gain +5 max shield after killing an Elite/Boss”
This is basically just an inferior version of the last shield perk. It only ends up giving slightly more shield than the former late in the game, and not having the recovery interval bonus is a much bigger deal.
“Activating Fatal Current removes elemental effects from you and decreases damage taken by 60% for 2s”
Good in an MS build since you will constantly be recasting Fatal Current, so you’ll have quite a high uptime on the damage reduction effect (and the occasional status cleanse is a bonus). Not particularly useful if you don’t end up building MS though.
“When shields are damaged to 0 they do not break and block ALL damage for 2s (180s cd):”
A deceptively strong talent despite the long cooldown. In nightmare, death often comes rather immediately. Unlike the Bird and Dog abilities that only block normal (non-elemental) damage, this talent protects you from elemental damage as well. Also unlike the other two, this prevents damage from overflowing to your health when it is triggered, making it significantly better.
Ascension Tier List
Some Ascensions are also rated differently depending on how many points you have in them already.
(ex. lv3 rating assumes you already have 2 points invested).
The Tiers are divided as follows:
S: Excellent Ascension. Almost always pick if it doesn’t conflict with your build,
A: Great Ascension. Can’t usually go wrong with these.
B: Good Ascension. Good to have, just not as high priority.
C: Mediocre Ascension. Not necessarily ‘bad’ but you probably shouldn’t pick these over other ones.
Standard Tier List
MS refers to a playstyle based around the ascension ‘Magical Supply’. See the ascension description for details.
Chain Lightning Tier List
This list is for if you want to play Chain Lightning builds. They are overall worse but offer a unique playstyle. Info specific to Chain Lightning builds in the ascension descrioptions will be marked with ‘CL’.
The core of the aforementioned MS build. As long as you can kill your targets in one hit, you can maintain Fatal Current indefinitely as long as you’re quick enough to aim and shoot within the timeframe. While good in almost any build, it also enables a playstyle, the MS build, where you use a weapon with the highest single hit damage you can find (typically a sniper) and one shot pretty much every non-boss enemy in the game (after you get enough damage support at least). This also refunds ammo for successful kills so you won’t even have to reload. The only downsides to this are that your weapon selection becomes very limited if you go all in on this strategy, and it has some anti synergy with strong weapon inscriptions like ‘+1 projectile count’ and ‘+200% lucky chance on the last shot’ (because the ammo refund is not immediate, you will trigger an automatic reload from hitting 0 ammo first).
CL: Can still be useful even with a CL build. Being able to shoot weak enemies will let you extend the duration of your Fatal Current; the increased uptime benefits one of your core acensions ‘Lightning Governer’, allowing you to get more CL activations.
Storm Blast “+150% .. +225% .. +300% extra DMG for [Thunderstrike]. At lv3 [Thunderstrike] always Crits.”
This specifically buffs the weapon damage component of Fatal Current (the Thunderstrike), not the skill damage component (the Thunderbolt) . Best with an MS build as the most important thing for that build is to raise Thunderstrike damage to one-shot enemies, and you will be throwing out a ton of Thunderstrikes. The level 3 bonus lets you crit by hitting anywhere on the body which makes chaining enemy kills much easier; it also lets explosive weapons crit even though they normally can’t. Without an MS build, it’s significantly less useful though. Most of your damage will be coming from normal attacks and not Thunderstrikes. It’s also not as useful on bosses compared to the other more general damage boosting ascensions available.
CL: Not much to say about this for a CL build, it doesn’t really support anything you’re trying to do.
Voltage Surge “Crit Hit will make the enemy take +10% .. +15% .. +40% Crit DMG for 4s .. 4s .. 5s. If weapon’s CritX is larger than 4x, +20% .. +30% .. +40% Crit DMG.”
This ascension is a joke. +40% crit damage translates to +0.4 to your weapon’s crit damage multiplier (ex. a 5x crit weapon becomes 5.4x crit). This effect doesn’t stack, only refreshes duration, and also does not apply to the first hit. This results in less than a 10% damage bonus for most snipers at level 3.
Thunder Turbo “Receive 1 layer of [Thunder Turbo] after killing the enemy with Crit Hit. Receive 2 layers of [Thunder Turbo] after killing the enemy with [Thunderstrike]. Each layer of [Thunder Turbo] will +5% .. +10% .. +15% weapon DMG and skill DMG (up to 8 layers). Once shield is broken, all .. all .. 50% of layers will be lost. At lv3 layers also apply +5% crit damage.”
Just a great all around damage boost. Provides +120% normal and skill damage at lv3 with 8 layers stacked (It also provides as much crit damage as the previous ascension…). The downside of losing all your stacks when your shield breaks (only half at lv3 though) is pretty major in some boss fights like the Sky Lord where you are unable to recharge your stacks, so take extra care in those situations. In most cases though you will be able to recharge it pretty quickly off of normal enemies. Luo’s shield should not be breaking very frequently though (he probably won’t even survive if it happens to you a lot), if it’s breaking too much you may consider prioritizing the ‘Voltaic Aegis’ Ascension or either of the shield based starting talents.
CL: Great for CL builds too as the skill damage is appreciated, and weapon damage is a good bonus. CL builds take longer to rebuild stacks if you lose them though, so take extra care not to get your shield broken.
“+30% .. +60% .. +100% weapon DMG and skill DMG if there is no enemy within 10m .. 10m .. 5m.”
Another nice general damage boost. Doesn’t provide as much of a bonus as the other two options, but 100% at lv3 is still a lot. The range requirement to maintain it is pretty straightforward, but many enemies attempt to rush you down, and they’ll deactivate this every so often. It also does somewhat limit your movement options if you want to keep the bonus.
CL: Skill damage is useful for CL, but they also tend to stay closer to the enemies than standard builds, making the damage bonus a bit harder to maintain. They are better at clearing out rushdown enemies though so they should be able to get the bonus back fairly quickly.
Eye of the Storm “+15% .. +25% .. +50% (up to 60% .. 100% .. 150%) weapon DMG for sniper on next hit to the same target after dealing damage with sniper.”
A massive +150% weapon damage bonus with some caveats. Many snipers are slow hitting weapons so having to hit enemies multiple times can be slow when it comes to clearing rooms. This ascension heavily benefits from either using the faster firing bows (all bows count as snipers) or getting the ‘+1 projectile’ inscription. Since it doesn’t apply on the first hit, it also doesn’t benefit MS builds that much (though it still helps them on bosses).
CL: Unlike the other two damage boost ascensions, this one provides no skill damage, making it significantly worse than them for a CL build.
Terrible ascension. This specifically affects the skill damage component of ‘Fatal Current’ (the Thunderbolt) not the weapon damage component (the Thunderstrike). The Thunderbolt does not scale well at all past the first stage even with the +400% attack bonus. By default you only get one Thunderbolt per cast of ‘Fatal Current’, so once every 10 seconds, and it’s not nearly strong enough to justify that.
CL: This is still not particularly good for a CL build, but if you have the other Ascension ‘Bolt from the Blue’ you can get enough Thunderbolt casts that this ends up doing some light damage at least. Other ascensions are much larger priorities to invest in though so you will likely never go past 1 point in this.
Voltaic Aegis “Obtain 1 stack of [Voltaic Aegis] per 4s .. 3s .. 3s and gain 1 stack of [Voltaic Aegis] during [Fatal Current] per 1s .. 1s .. 0.6s. Each stack of [Voltaic Aegis] increases maximum shield by 5 .. 10 .. 20 and offers 10% .. 15% .. 20% damage reduction. Stacks up to 3 .. 3 .. 5 times and lose 1 stack each time you take damage.”
Luo Lei’s premier defensive ascension. It’s great at reducing burst damage, and in Nightmare big hits are what you have to watch out for. The numbers on it are great; even if you get hit the stacks recharge quickly and at lv 3 the defence you get from it starts to get ridiculous. It also makes it easier to maintain your ‘Thunder Turbo’ stacks. The only problem is that multihit attacks will shred through your stacks and leave you vulnerable, so watch out for enemies that can attack rapidly.
CL: Being a defensive skill, this is just as applicable to CL builds as it is the standard ones. It may even be more useful since CL builds tend to play relatively closer to enemies.
Lightning Governer “During [Fatal Current], inflict [Chain Lightning] with -2 .. -1 .. default bounces on a random enemy within 20m around you per 1 .. 0.85 .. 0.7 second. At lv3 If [Chain Lightning] successfully kills an enemy, the duration of the active [Fatal Current] will be increased by 1s.”
Adds a miniscule amount of passive damage during the duration of your ‘Fatal Current’. Chain Lightning already isn’t worth using much outside of clearing weak (explosive) enemies, let alone Chain Lightning with reduced bounces. If you don’t have MS your ‘Fatal Current’ Duration will typically be extremely short anyways. However this does have a niche use case where if you had to take the ascension ‘Thunderbolt Converter’ and you are also running an MS build, the CL from this this skill will keep activating ‘Thunderbolt Converter’ in between your shots (as long as an enemy is within range).
CL: This is one of your core CL triggers, along with ‘Lightning from Void’. Manually casting CL is sluggish and limited by secondary ammo, so you always want to rely on ascensions as your primary method of casting it. When you’re using this, you usually want to delay shooting your weapon until the near the end of your ‘Fatal Current’ duration (unless you can extend it with MS) so you can get more CL casts from this. Because of this restriction, make sure to apply elements (Corrosion or Fire) from your weapon before triggering this (since you won’t be shooting during it). The -2 bounces at lv1 is a problem, so you want to increase the level of this as soon as possible, or compensate for it with the ascension ‘Tesla Coil’.
Thunder Nemesis “When casting [Fatal Current], summon a Thunderbolt to strike on 3 .. 4 .. 6 random enemies within 20m .. 25m .. 25m. At lv3 also summon a Thunderbolt to strike 1 random enemy every 2 seconds”
This is a contender for Luo’s worst ascension. It’s virtually useless without also taking ‘Fulminous Zap’ which is also weak itself. The only way to get any use out of this is to trigger it repeatedly with MS, but MS builds will never want to waste points in Thunderbolt ascensions to make this do anything more than bare minimum damage.
CL: This could become slightly usable at level 3, but not nearly enough to justify having to waste 3 points investing in it along with the other Thunderbolt related ascensions.
Heart of Battle “-0.5s .. -1s .. -1.5s cooldown of [Fatal Current] for every Critical kill. At lv3 also refill 50% of your secondary skills upon every critical kill.”
The cooldown reduction is nice to have, especially for MS builds so they can recast it right away once their kill chain ends. The amount of cooldown reduction per point is quite low though, making this a relatively low priority.
CL: The lv3 effect could be decent as another way to get more fuel for CL, but it’s absolutely not worth investing 3 points in for, especially since CL builds get much less crit kills compared to normal.
Bolt from the Blue “[Fatal Current] offers additional 50% skill damage, during which every Shock Effect triggered will summon a Thunderbolt to strike the affected enemy.”
The last member to round out the trio of bad Thunderbolt ascensions. This is the best one of the 3 because with just 1 point you will never have to see it clog up your ascension options again later. Thunderbolt is a bad skill and taking a bunch of mediocre ascensions to make it slightly less bad is not the best idea.
CL: Pretty good for being a 1 point ascension with a 50% skill damage bonus. Since CL builds will have the ‘50% elemental chance on CL’ talent, this is actually the only way to get some use out of Thunderbolts. This ascension is mandatory for ‘Fulminous Zap’ to be usable. Keep in mind that without the occult scroll ‘Elemental Weave’ you will only get on average 1 Thunderbolt for every 2 hits of Chain Lightning during ‘Fatal Current’, making the overall damage output of your Thunderbolts lower than you might expect. Also note that this ascension is mostly useless if you were unlucky enough to not get offered ‘Lightning Governer’, as you won’t have an easy source of CL casts during ‘Fatal Current’.
This basically gives you occasional free casts of Chain Lightning with little effort. The trigger rate scales directly off your crit chance, I’m not of sure the exact numbers but it seems to be around 10% chance for every 1.0 CritX on your weapon, so it does trigger quite frequently. This is a pretty decent ascension but probably not for the intended reasons. First, it’s a 1 point ascension so taking it narrows the pool of ascensions you are offered in the future. Second, it prevents some of the other ascensions in this category from being utterly useless since you can now trigger them without wasting time casting CL yourself. It’s all downhill from here unfortunately.
CL: For a CL build this is your other core CL trigger, along with ‘Lightning Governor’. This is the one you will be relying on when your ‘Fatal Current’ is on cooldown (or you couldn’t find ‘Lightning Governor’). Very good to get CL casts while still being able to keep shooting.
Electric Current “[Chain Lightning] would connect all affected targets together and complete a circuit. Next time when you hit the connected target, 40% .. 70% .. 100% of the DMG would be transmitted to all connected targets. (Void .. Void .. Doesn’t void previous connects after casting [Chain Lightning])”
This ascension is a lot better on paper than it is in practice. Having to cast CL on a group before attacking them is quite clunky with CL’s cast delay and bouncing mechanics; it’s usually better to just start shooting. The payoff for it isn’t large enough to be worthwhile before lv3 either, and it’s not worth investing 3 points in it just for that. At least you get minor benefit out of it randomly with ‘Lightning from Void’. If you want a similar effect, look for snipers with the inscription ‘on Crit kill share all damage to enemies within 10m’; that is arguably better and requires way less investment.
CL: The damage sharing applies to weapon hits, so you don’t get much benefit out of this. CL builds shouldn’t have a problem dealing area damage either so this is redundant.
Tesla Coil “+2 .. +3 .. +4 bounce and +2 .. +4 .. +6 max capacity for [Chain Lightning]. At lv3 if [Chain Lightning] causes Shock Effect, players get 1 more usage immediately.”
This doesn’t really do much of anything. CL still isn’t going to do any appreciable damage.
CL: This is mostly useful for covering for the downside of a low level ‘Lightning Governor’. Other than that, you don’t really want to level this up. It can theoretically be used as an alternative CL engine at level 3 since you have a pretty high chance of refunding ammo on every CL cast, but it’s not worth having to invest 3 points for that especially with the risk of you never being offered the level 3 version.
Hyper Current “+100% .. +200% .. +300% [Chain Lightning] Damage. At lv3 after the bounce(s) ends, it would bounce back to the initial target and deal extra damage based on total number of bounce(s).”
More CL damage. Not much more though. Especially not enough to be worth taking.
CL: More CL damage. This is the most reliable way to scale CL damage along with skill power ascensions. The increased damage definitely helps out early at least, though it takes some effort and luck to have it still do well in stage 3. If you find the damage still falls off, you can fall back on elemental fusions (specifically Miasma: Corrosion + Shock) to clear enemies.
Thunderbolt Converter “+10% .. +20% .. +100% weapon DMG on your next hit every time [Chain Lightning] inflicts damage (up to +40% .. +80% .. +100% weapon DMG). At lv3 also adds +40% Lucky Shot chance.”
At least this provides some benefit to any build that took ‘Lightning from Void’, it’s probably the best CL ascension for a non CL build (after ‘Lightning from Void’). Compared to Luo’s other damage boosting talents, this one has significantly worse uptime and doesn’t provide nearly as much overall damage output as a result. It gets quite a bit better at lv3, but you’re pretty unfortunate if you were forced to get it to lv3 in the first place. If you remember, you can use your CL casts before a big Thunderstrike hit to boost the damage on it somewhat. There’s also some specific synergy in an MS build where if you also have ‘Lightning Governor’, you can get relatively high uptime on this skill as long as there’s an enemy within range for your passive CL to hit.
CL: Ironically doesn’t help CL builds much at all. When using ‘Lightning Governor’ you can’t shoot for most of the duration, and since the bonus doesn’t stack you still only get the effect on a single hit.
Super Charge “Recharge 3 .. 4 .. 6 shield for each damage dealt by [Chain Lightning]. At lv3 if [Chain Lightning] kills the enemy, shield will start the recharge immediately.”
Luo’s other defensive ascension option, but not nearly as good as ‘Voltaic Aegis’. With ‘Lightning from Void’, this gives you the occasional minor shield restoration at least, but healing 9 shield at best per activation at lv1 is quite pitiful. Without ‘Lightning from Void’ this is pretty much useless, you’re not gonna stop shooting so you can waste time casting CL for the minor shield this gives.
CL: At least CL builds can trigger this a lot more, though it’s still somewhat situational. You can actually get a good amount of shield if you have ‘Lightning Governor’ active near an enemy group. It’s still not nearly as impactful as ‘Voltaic Aegis’ since it doesn’t save you from burst damage and the uptime on this isn’t reliable. The points spent in this are usually better spent elsewhere.
-‘Fatal Current’ has a long start up lag. Try to use it preemptively if you see a dangerous enemy.
-‘Fatal Current’ does not interrupt reloading. If you’re already in combat, using it during a reload is the most efficient time to activate it.
-Don’t always use your ‘Fatal Current’ as soon as it’s off cooldown; there’s no need to use it if you aren’t under pressure, and having it available at the start of a new wave is a good habit to have.
-Don’t forget about the +30% movement speed boost ‘Fatal Current provides’. Sometimes it’s best to activate it just for this effect, and use it to re-position yourself rather than shooting a target (though still attempt to shoot something right before it expires).
-If your weapon has an inscription that boosts a specific shot (like the first or last shot) try to align your ‘Fatal Current’ activation with it. You can also intentionally miss an enemy to lower your magazine count and without cancelling the active ‘Fatal Current’.
About your Weapons
-Luo will overwhelmingly often be using snipers, because of his guaranteed drops and natural synergy with them. He does fine with other accurate weapons as well as long as you aren’t using the ‘Eye of the Storm’ ascension.
-All bows and crossbows weapons are also classified as snipers, so you can freely use those too.
-Shotguns are also pretty compatible with Thunderstrike as long as the range doesn’t cause problems for you. The limited ascension options for them hurts though.
-Get used to constantly strafing while you’re looking through a scope. Standing still can result in instant death from bullets you weren’t able to see.
-Don’t tunnel vision too much. While some weapon inscriptions may benefit from staying in scope for a duration, try to keep an eye on your radar so enemies don’t blindside you.
-A Chain Lightning build wants 1 corrosive weapon on hand so you can activate the Miasma elemental fusion with it.
-A popular, less conventional weapon for an MS build is the ‘Concealed Ammo’ SMG. Using it properly requires have the ‘Storm Blast’ Ascension at lv3. Then you can go around throwing Critical explosions at everything with its secondary fire mode.
-Luo has a much easier time with long range enemies than most because of his preference for snipers. It’s usually good to focus the rushdown enemies first, so you aren’t forced to awkwardly to quick scope a group of them, and so they don’t catch you unawares while scoped.
-You don’t always have to stay at maximum range. Luo has the highest base movement speed which makes him more evasive than most other characters despite his low defences.
-In stage 3, Monks of both varieties are high priority targets. Nihilation monks especially, as they will strip your ‘Voltaic Aegis’ stacks almost immediately and can easily blindside you with their teleport.
-Enemies with the ‘Immortal’ prefix will interrupt your kill chain when using an MS build (since the your shot doesn’t kill them immediately). Try to kill them near the end of a kill chain if possible.
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