[1.3] Purple Rain; a shockingly chaotic Voltaxic Rift build (w/ budget version!)

Purple Rain: A Build Guide

Zeus wrote:
For a true hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.


  • This is a pure lightning, elemental, bow-attack based build.
  • The entire build is themed around lightning - both skills and items.
  • It works with almost any bow skill you want to use.
  • It uses a large amount of unique items - many of them underused.
  • It makes use of many of the aspects of the last two major patches.
  • In its best form, it takes full advantage of the Voltaxic Rift bow.
  • But you can make it work more or less the same without one at a fraction of the cost.
  • But then, ya know, no purple rain :( its just normal, blue rain then.

Patch 2.0

The Concept (Long Version)


This build is based around taking this item:

...and turning up the lightning scaling to eleven.

How do we achieve that?
And how is this any different than any other elemental bow build?

Traditionally, elemental attack builds relied heavily on the two elemental auras - Wrath and Anger - to achieve most of their damage. Rather than scaling one type of element, they spend most of their passive points buffing auras, with the spare points going to un-aligned elemental damage nodes.

With patch 1.2.4, a new skill called "Herald of Thunder" was introduced. With a lower base reservation cost and the ability to double-up on the same element type as Wrath, I saw a chance to make a pure lightning build. We can ditch most of the aura nodes and the lengthy travel to get to them and instead focus on the recently buffed Shadow and Witch starting zones - and all the raw lightning damage that comes with them!

This is how I've gone about it:

  • A passive tree focusing on lightning damage, elemental damage, projectile damage, attack speed and shock chance - with some of the better aura nodes picked up along the way to help.
  • Using the triple threat of Wrath, Herald of Thunder and Added Lightning Damage.
  • Piling on uniques with flat lightning damage.
  • Filling in the other slots with rare items that have added lightning and/or weapon elemental damage and/or % lightning.
  • And finally, scaling up all that damage with more multiplier off skills, gems and curses! Because a large amount of points are spend on "increased" damage nodes, you really start to feel the effect of these multipliers!
  • Since it's pure lightning, we end up dealing pure chaos through Voltaxic. This means mob resistances are easier to get through (mostly) and reflect is not even a thing!

I should also note that in addition to the main bow attack skill I use for the majority of my damage, I am also gaining a lot of damage from both the active portion of Herald of Thunder (easy 100% up-time) and also a 5L Vaal Spark set-up. These both take advantage of almost all the passive nodes I get - lightning, elemental - and both becomes pure chaos damage through my Voltaxic.

That's all great and all for your offensive side, but how's the defense here?

Fair warning, as this is a ranged bow build, a lot of the defensive side comes from keeping a safe distance and skillfully dodging attacks and spells. For this particular build, flasks are also of extreme importance to your safety and if you do not use them, you will feel it! Finally, I currently play on a standard league, so I have tuned my skill tree to offense over defense - this can obviously be tuned to your liking as a hardcore player and I feel this build offers enough to be viable on hardcore as well.

OK! That said, here is a defensive run-down:

  • Acrobatics...
  • Ondar's Guile...
  • Evasion + Jade Flask...
  • Lightning Coil + Purity of Lightning...
  • These make up the core of our physical defense. We dodge and evade a healthy number of attacks that come our way. When needed, a well rolled Jade Flask helps us become even more slippery. But when we do take a hit, we counter it with - what else - but some lightning! That is the theme of the build, right?
  • On the elemental side, max resists plus Phase Acrobatics and Purity of Lightning offer us some protection from the elements. Lightning spells don't hurt us quite as much therefore, but do watch out for hard hitting fire and cold spells. Try and dodge the stuff.

I should note that to help with dodging and mobility I run a 4L Lightning Warp set-up. It's not as effective as it would be on a spell caster, but it gets the job done. It is a large part of my play style and how I normally position myself.

The other important thing to talk about here is sustain.

For life, I don't use a life leech gem and we can't make use of physical or lightning leech seeing as the damage here is all chaos. A life leech gem is of course an option, but with so many good damage options for our gem slots I opt for a different approach. This:

Since we deal all chaos, that is 10% leech of 100% of our effective damage. You'll hit the leech cap every time, no problem. You can choose to run two of these if you want high up-time, but since we do dodge many hits, I opt in for some instant life flasks instead. I have the Herbalism node giving my life flasks some extra potency; might as well use them.

As far as mana goes, I have almost no mana or mana regen nodes on my passive tree. I don't run a mana leech gem or use any sort of mana-gained-on-hit either. Like the flask, this is all done through items. Unlike the flask, this one is a bit more consistent:

In keeping with our lightning theme, I get all my mana back through leeching off shocked enemies. If you build as I have, you get exactly 50% chance to shock (plus your base 5% crit chance). Things will be shocked. Further, with items and the tree, you have 220% increased shock duration. You'll be able to leech off any boss with that. The 5% is enough to leech cap again and keeps us nice and full. You do run a slight risk of running dry if you fire into nothing and drain your mana, but even a single shot of your basic attack can fill you back up.

The Concept (TL;DR)



  • I stack as much flat lightning damage on gear as possible while running Wrath and Herald of Thunder, then gather up all the lightning/elemental/projectile damage around the new Shadow/Witch start.
  • Take all that %increased and pump it up with some good more multipliers on skills, gems and curses.
  • Both Herald of Thunder and Vaal Spark are used as other damage sources, both scaling off nearly all the same passive points as the main attack.
  • It's all chaos damage; reflect isn't an issue.


  • Acro, Phase Acro, Ondar's, Evasion, Lightning Coil + Purity of Lightning.
  • Life Leech w/ Atziri's Promise (10% effective leech).
  • Mana Leech w/ Berek's Grip (5% effective leech).
  • Lightning Warp for mobility.

Passive Tree


107 Point Tree:


What to get while leveling:

  • Your flat damage while leveling should be more than enough. Try and focus on getting around the tree early so you can pick up whatever you need later on without worrying about having to spend a lot of points traveling.
  • Shock Chance is important! You need a lot of it to reliably sustain your mana off a Berek's Grip.
  • Picking up stuff like Herbalism, Ondar's Guile and Acrobatics early on can make leveling a lot safer/easier.
  • Try and pick up the aura nodes as you are nearing 60 if you want to wear your Lightning Coil right away - you don't need Purity of Lightning till then and can run Wrath + Herald of Thunder without mana reduction.

My Gear (Long Version)



  • The reason for the season. It gives us a large chunk of our flat lightning damage as well as converting it all to chaos. The shock chance is actually very important as well for mana leech!

  • A bit of added lightning (every bit helps!) as well as keeping us safe from those nasty physical hits. Also very thematic!

  • Very, very, very fun gloves. Added lightning, double the shock duration, much needed attack speed - and a GREAT psuedo 5L! That comes in handy.

  • Be honest: did you even know this unique existed? Maybe not. It's not very popular. The lack of movespeed, life, resists or defense is pretty off-putting. I mostly use these for thematic purposes and a good rare would take nothing away from the build. BUT: that's a lot of added lightning! And chance to flee is kind of fun, hehe.

  • Without this little thing, the build wouldn't work. Just look at that mana leech! While the cold damage and life leech don't help, the added lightning, life and resists are not too shabby.

  • One of these goes a long way in our build. We get the extra damage (even though we don't actually deal any elemental or physical damage) but more importantly, ALL the leech!

Everything Else:

  • With all the other slots, I've just tried to get as much life as possible while capping resists, then I've focused on...
  • Accuracy
  • Weapon Elemental Damage
  • Added Lightning Damage
  • % Lightning Damage
  • ...in more-or-less that order (though take what you can get!)

My Gear (TL;DR)


My Skills (Long Version)


Main Attack:

  • Tornado Shot + Lesser Multiple Projectiles + Added Lightning Damage + Weapon Elemental Damage + Faster Attacks

- Added Lightning is important to try and get 20% quality. It gives you an extra 10% shock chance and 20% shock duration. These are important stats for the build! Get them!
- To change things up, you can use almost ANY bow attack skill you want. Split Arrow + Chain is also very effective. Rain of Arrows and Lightning Arrow might also be a lot a fun.
- For Tornado Shot, you can change between LMP/GMP as you see fit. I like the control of LMP and find it clears just fine, but try both yourself.
- As a 6th link, I plan to try out Physical Projectile Attack Damage to get another "more" multiplier in there. Added Chaos is another option, but I doubt the damage will be as much.

Curse On Hit:

  • Lightning Arrow + Greater Multiple Projectiles + Chain + Curse on Hit + Projectile Weakness

- This is in my bow. If you only have a 4L, try split/chain with curse on hit + curse. If you go for dual curse, do the same with an extra curse. You can get creative if you are using a single curse in a 5L. Something like blind, chance to flee or life gain on hit can be another option. You can also use a Ranged Attack Totem here as well!

Vaal Skill:

  • Vaal Spark + Fork + Greater Multiple Projectiles + Added Chaos Damage + Added Lightning Damage (via gloves)

- This baby here is another great benefit to this build. With all the lightning and elemental damage on the passive tree plus another pseudo 5L to run it in, you can Vaal Spark as if you were a caster yourself!
- Because we are doing chaos damage with this skill, we can actually self-cast without worrying about reflect. No more 1 hp trap that instantly dies to anything!


  • Reduced Mana + Wrath + Herald of Thunder + Purity of Lightning

- Standard. Not too much to say. If you want to sacrifice something, you can run Herald of Thunder in a different item linked up to something like blind or a curse on hit set-up. Just don't bump the mana cost too high because you don't have much room to play with there.


  • Lightning Warp + Reduced Duration + Faster Casting + Blood Magic

- More lightning for the build! Why not, right? Because I use a boot with no extra movespeed, this set-up is important for getting out of nasty situations. I run it off life so I don't drain my small mana pool
- Quality is important on everything but Blood Magic here if you want to get this thing going fast. You're not a spell caster, so you don't have much cast speed to speak of.

My Skills (TL;DR)


Main Attack:

  • Tornado Shot + Lesser Multiple Projectiles + Added Lightning Damage + Weapon Elemental Damage + Faster Attacks

Curse On Hit:

  • Lightning Arrow + Greater Multiple Projectiles + Chain + Curse on Hit + Projectile Weakness

Vaal Skill:

  • Vaal Spark + Trap + Greater Multiple Projectiles + Added Chaos Damage + Added Lightning Damage (via gloves)


  • Reduced Mana + Wrath + Herald of Thunder + Purity of Lightning


  • Lightning Warp + Reduced Duration + Faster Casting + Blood Magic

Budget Version


Voltaxic Rift isn't cheap.

It's not as costly as it once was, but it still is not something available to everyone. There is a simple change to this build, however, that is much easier to get your hands on.

This build was originally planned out as a challenge build using this unique:

It's basically a mini-voltaxic that goes for about 1 chaos. Minus the purple rain inducing chaos stuff. But it functions almost the exact same. You actually don't lose a lot of dps, either, since the base attack speed on this thing is really insane at 1.95 APS.

You basically just build the exact same. Get lots of lightning, make the lightning better, shock things, win.

There are, however, some important changes:

  • Think about replacing a link (in my case, Faster Attacks) with Lightning Penetration.
  • Swap your curse to Conductivity.
  • Worry about reflect! Try running a Topaz Flask to help.
  • Make sure Vaal Spark is on a trap or mine for that reason as well.

Apart from that, you will still have a lot of fun being a pure lightning, shocking, death machine. You can still use any bow skill you want and all the other uniques still work with the build.

If you can't get a Berek's Grip, you will not be able to run this build without making some heavy changes.

I don't have any sure-fire solution for you if you want to run the build without one. It's a really good ring. On new leagues (if you're reading this in a new league) it can be a little rough getting one. Apart from a past season race reward, you need to run Domination maps out of your hideout at 10 chaos a pop, then chance every two-stone (cold/lightning) ring you find and/or get lucky and have one drop. If you are in a permanent league, they are still not cheap, but very much obtainable.

That said, if you can't get one, you just need to get some mana regen. It's not the end of the world, but you will have to sacrifice something.

Some ideas if you can't get a Berek's Grip:

  • Replace a gem with Mana Leech. This should work more-or-less like Berek's Grip, but lowers your damage a good chunk.
  • Ditch Purity of Lightning for a Clarity. You might want to replace Lightning Coil in this case, but you can still cap at 75% lightning off gear alone and still gain benefit from the Coil.
  • Try using a Theif's Torment ring instead. Cheaper and gives a good amount of mana-on-hit (perfect for Tornado Shot or Split Arrow) but you need to res cap with only FOUR rares at that point - ouch! Maybe shed a different unique if you need to.
  • Swap out your damage curse for Poacher's Mark and use it religiously for mana on hit.
  • Attempt to play around with the passive tree and gear to sneak in a bunch of mana/mana regen. You might have to ditch some damage or life to get enough, but if you find some good mana regen on your jewelry slots as well, it might help.
  • Mana Flasks? If you can get one that refills slow enough so that it won't cap out while you attack, this could be a good temporary solution.
  • In addition to one or more of the above, try using some Elreon minus mana cost rings and/or Amulet. They work wonders!


Leveling Tips

Note: This is just a rough timeline of how I leveled my character, with a focus on specific gems and uniques I leveled with - and does not include everything you need to know. Make sure to still follow general leveling advice like keep upgrading your gear, level up gems you don't need to use yet, etc.


  • Take the Split Arrow reward from your first quest and level with that.
  • If you want, pick up a Silverbranch unique, though any bow will do for these levels.
  • Grab some un-crafted Elreon minus mana cost jewelry if you have them (most of the ones you buy off the vendor work at level 1 - until/unless you add mods to them!).


  • Equip a Storm Cloud at level 10 and start running Wrath - this will make your leveling really smooth.
  • Although you don't need it yet, try to get a Purity of Lightning (usable @ level 10) to start leveling it asap.
  • Link up an Added Lightning gem to your split arrow at level 12 (now is a good time to purchase one with quality; this is important!).


  • Switch over to Tornado Shot at level 24 and link it with LMP + Added Lightning.
  • Start running your Herald of Thunder at level 24 as well.
  • Because you have very little mana with Wrath + Herald of Thunder running with no mana reduction yet, now is the time to get some Elreon minus mana cost jewelry. The goal is to get your Tornado Shot to around zero cost (give or take a few mana; I ran mine at 2 and was fine).
  • Try to grab a pair of Wake of Destruction at 28 if you plan to use them. The damage is nice, but at this point that life on kill is amazing.
  • Just level with your 3L! Things should be smooth sailing. Make sure to keep changing out your life potions for better ones, though.


  • Around 60 is when you start to form what becomes your end-game build. None of this is required to get *at* level, but by the time you want to start mapping, you should have most of it together.
  • 60: Lightning coil. By the time you put this on, you want a reduced mana linked to your auras - including the very important purity of lightning!
  • 64: Voltaxic Rift! If you've got it, now you can switch over if you want to. Your tooltip DPS will *NOT* go up a lot at this point (depending how much % dmg you have on tree) but you will feel the difference in mob resistance and not getting killed by reflect.
  • 67: Thunderfists. At this point, you can link together your Vaal Spark set-up in the glove for things like Merc Piety runs.
  • Any Level: Put on your Berek's Grip and 5 or 6L your main skill! You can also ditch your Elreon rings at this point. Warning: If you did not get all/most of the shock chance nodes on the tree (plus 10% on Voltaxic plus 10% on Added Lightning) you may not shock enough to sustain your skill!

Bandit Choices

  • Oak (Life) > Kraityn (Attack Speed) > Kill (Skill Point)

My Stats

Current Level: 82

  • 3,612 life (+ 113 ES)
  • 25% evade; 52% w/ jade
  • 75 fire, 75 cold, 78% light resistance
  • 88% accuracy
  • 13,461.3 Tornado Shot tooltip
  • 63-2933 on the active portion of Herald of Thunder

Note: Since this character is now on Standard, I have left it at this level. If you are playing this build with better gear/gems/etc. and have other numbers to share, please do in the comments! It can be pushed way further than I managed with the time and investment needed.

My Videos

I play on a potato.

That said, I've put together a very crappy video to at least give people a sense of what the build looks like in..."action". If you can call it that. I'm having extreme trouble aiming my Tornado Shot in the video and I can hardly control anything. Whatever. Things still die in purple glory.

If anyone has tips for recording video on a not-so-great computer, let me know. I'm currently trying Ezvid and I am not impressed.

Video #1 - 71 Strand (@ char lvl 74)

My Other Builds

Current (2.0)


* [2.0] Hidden Potential Poison Arrow (100% magic gear!)

Out-dated (Pre 2.0)


* [1.3] The Green Tornado (10 Frenzy Charge, Crit Bow Frenzy Ranger)
* [1.3] HybridFlicker (life+es w/ Incandescent Heart)
* [1.3] POTCG DomBlow

Last edited by Yordle on Jul 28, 2015, 3:29:58 PM
Nice build! And very similar to one I am experimenting with, currently at lvl80.

Main difference is no aura nodes or Berek's for me, and using a 6L Belly instead.

You can solve the mana problem with a Mana Leech in the 6L.
I also have Life Leech in the same 6L, with Lightning Arrow or Tornado shot and no GMP, and a corrupted "additional arrow" quiver, this both removes the penalty of LMP and gives twice the output of just one arrow.

So LA - Chain - LL - ML - WED - Added lightning for me.

Cherrubim's Maleficence may also be a good alternative for this build!
Now if I could only get that darn Herald of Thunder to drop...
Hmm, yea, I should add mana leech gem as another option in the budget version. Not sure why I didn't think of that, durrr...

Very nice find with a +1 quiver! I'd love to get one. I'd still run LMP, but if I swapped to Lightning Arrow I might not, either. I just love LMP TS! It feels like the perfect amount of aoe, but one you have perfect control over. But I'd gladly take a 4th, free arrow :P
Last edited by Yordle on Oct 29, 2014, 5:43:04 PM
This build definitely sounds nice! I will try out the budget version for sure and save up for the Voltaxic!
can you please post a longer video on a higher level map?
Yea, I want to attempt to record a better video - a bunch, if possible.

I need to a) find a better, free recording program that works with my shitty computer and b) be able to actually play while the program is running. It's hard to move around, let alone aim Tornado Shot, when your computer goes all jumpy the second you hit record.

If anyone has suggestions for recording let me know! In the mean time I'll play around with some settings and try and figure something out.
HC viability?
Shamwwow wrote:
HC viability?

I think I wrote something about that in the longer overview, but basically it's got a good base for HC viability - especially with lightning coil acro (also how Ziggy played his successful HC Tornado Shot character) - and due to the nature of chaos damage, you can't possibly kill yourself to reflect; a nice thought to have.

But how I've currently optimized my build is more for a standard environment. I've left some key defense nodes very late and use more uniques that I would in a HC setting, for example.

I think if someone wanted to, they could easily take this guide and tune the build for a successful hardcore character.
Another thing that worked really well for me; link Life Leech with Herald of Thunder (since I'm not using Purity of Lightning). It will keep you topped up!
If I had the mana reservation, I'd love to get creative with Herald of Thunder. It does some nice damage with my current passive tree.

Mana & life leech, curse on hit, blind, etc. are all great utility with HoT, but I'd want to test inc aoe and faster casting and see if it could become a large part of my dps. But with the lack of aoe and cast speed on my tree, maybe utility would still be better.

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