[3.5] QotF Storm Brand Hierophant Map Farmer
This is a Map farming build using the new Storm Brand skill combined with Queen of the Forest, in lieu of a movement skill.
This build is NOT Hardcore Viable.
It's early days for this version of the build. I've just switched to QotF recently, and I'm still testing a lot of stuff out. The build functioned much better than I thought it would however, so I wanted to share it, and my thoughts about the skill in general.
This is my first build "guide", so any suggestions or feedback are greatly appreciated! I only wanted to do this to organize my thoughts about the build for myself, but if it helps or is informative to someone else then that's great. I will be updating this as I try new things, and optimize the build further. I think it has a lot of potential, and I'm excited to share it!
I will add videos of me clearing specific content soon.
T16 Crater Map:https://youtu.be/OWGwsrxjDVY
T10 Shaped UGS:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RZe_w5xO50
Pros and Cons
- It's a new skill!
- Very fast clear speed
- Easy to play. One button build most of the time.
- Brand Recall is one of the most satisfying skills in the game.
- A little squishy
- Pretty bad single target. You will kill Map bosses without too much trouble, but will not be killing Shaper, Elder, or anything like that.
- Some of the gear upgrades are quite expensive
Tree and PoB Pastebin
3.5 Passive Tree
3.5 Path of Building Pastebin
Kill all or help Alira. Personally I helped Alira, because the resistances from my gear are not very good.
Ascendancy and Pantheon
1. Sign of Purpose
Take this for your Normal Lab when leveling. Additional Brand, Brand Recall CDR, and attachment range are the real juicy stats here. The increased damage isn’t that big of a deal, but it’s something.
2. Illuminated Devotion
While leveling you’ll want Arcane Surge linked to Flame dash to keep this up, but once you get your Merciless Lab, the node behind it will keep Arcane Surge up permanently.
3. Arcane Blessing
Arcane Surge whenever you hit an enemy with a spell means you will always have it up. This node also allows you to drop the “of Heat” and “of Grounding” suffix, as you can no longer be frozen or shocked.
4a. Conviction of Power
Charge generation. If you can generate power charges some other way, drop this node for Pursuit of Fath.
4b. Pursuit of Faith
I totally underestimated this node. If you can generate power charges without the Conviction of Power node, I highly recommend this node. Putting it into PoB with my gear, the damage is actually higher with this node than an Esh's mirror per stack. You will almost always have 50 stacks at the very least. I often have 100+ stacks.
Really doesn't make too much of a difference. I'm using Soul of Solaris, and Soul of Shakari at the moment, but it's entirely up to you.
My Current Gear
The corrupted blood jewel is complete trash, and is only for the implicit. Most of my Jewels are garbage at the moment, because I just recently switched away from using whirling blades.
Queen of the Forest:
Queen of the Forest allows you to simply run around, which is almost always faster than a movement skill. It’s a huge quality of life increase, at the expense of a lot of damage, and concessions we need to make on the Passive Tree and with gearing. I played this build with Shield Charge and Whirling Blades and those felt good, but nothing can beat Queen of the Forest for clear speed, in my opinion.
Getting 5 off-colors on QotF is normally very expensive and difficult, but not this league! I rolled 4 blue sockets which should take ~800 chromatics with the “At Least 3 Blue sockets” crafting bench option. Then I made 2 of the 6 sockets white using Vorici in Research.
20% Movement speed, and Evasion rating we desperately need. Devoto’s is pretty much the only option here.
If you somehow are able to hit 45k evasion with a rare helmet, the “Nearby enemies have -9% Lightning Resistance” Delve mod is huge. If you have open crafted mods, you could craft the “+1 to Socketed AoE gems, % increased Area of Effect” veiled mod on as well, and socket your Herald of Ice in there.
There are two good choices here. I chose to go with the chain enchant because it felt better for clear speed to me. Chaining is what makes this build exceptional. If you’re struggling with damage though, the penetration enchant is excellent as well. This will help noticeably with bosses, but you're probably going to be killing most everything else too quickly for it to have an impact.
Aul’s Uprising with the “Wrath Reserves no mana” mod is the best in slot for this build. This will allow you to use Wrath, Grace, and Herald of Ice with links to your Wrath. I personally cannot afford that version at the moment, so I'm using the slightly cheaper "Grace Reserves no Mana" version, which still allows me to have all 3 Auras up.
Honestly, this amulet is super overpriced for what it gives to this build in particular, so don't sweat it if you can't afford it. It's not that big of a deal.
This is the amulet I used for the majority of my time playing this league. I think this amulet is underrated. This amulet is incredibly fun if you have a Headhunter. Shaper’s Presence will make your Headhunter buffs last for 30 seconds, allowing you to stack more up at one time. It also makes your flasks last noticeably longer. I highly recommend it if you are using Headhunter. If you don’t I probably wouldn’t use this amulet. You still could, but you probably would get more out of other amulets.
Choir of the Storm:
This is a great choice if you can manage to fit it in with you resists. It gives you significantly higher crit chance and damage. Overall it gives this build a lot of what it wants.
If you don’t like, or can’t afford any of these unique amulets, a rare amulet with life and resist will do just fine. You could maybe try out the Brand Attachment Range veiled mod.
Call of the Brotherhood
Call of the Brotherhood is huge for this build, and it’s relatively cheap right now. This will allow freeze enemies which is both a defensive and offensive boon to the build. The lightning damage isn’t big, but it’s nice as well.
Rambling about Call of the Brotherhood
It conflicts a bit with the other pieces of the build. Because so much of my damage is converted to Cold, the Lightning penetration from Wrath, and various pieces of gear is less impactful, and my damage is actually worse. I haven't replaced it yet however, because freezing is just too important.
For your other ring slot I would recommend:
1. A Shaped Opal ring with “Curse Enemies with level 12 Assassin’s Mark on Hit”, and some life and resists. This is obviously extremely pricy. Not necessary, but it is the best choice. I crafted the one I have myself by alteration spamming until I got the Assassin’s mark roll, then I Regal’d it.
2. An Assassin’s Mark on Hit ring that isn’t an Opal. Should be much more affordable, and you probably won’t notice much of a difference.
3. A rare Opal ring with life, resists.
4. A rare ring with life and resists.
Don’t need to explain this one too much. You absolutely DO NOT NEED a Headhunter for this build, but it is probably best in slot (and fun).
The Flow Untethered: 20% increased CDR for Brand Recall, and the Harbinger of Time action speed buff. The buff has a nice synergy with Solstice Vigil if you're using that. I honestly don't notice a clear speed difference between this belt and Headhunter. The Brand Recall CDR is the bottle-neck on your clear speed, and this can bring it down to 1 second with a +1 Vix Lunaris.
Rare Stygian Vise with Life and resists:
In general we won’t be using Abyss Jewels too much for this build, but you will need a Jewel that gives you Onslaught on kill. I would also try getting CDR on your belt if you can manage it.
Shadows and Dust:
Evasion Rating, global crit chance, and global crit multi. For a crit-based spell build that uses QotF, Shadows and Dust are a perfect fit. Rampage is extremely fun as well.
- 30%+ Movement Speed
- Leech enchant
- Evasion rating if you can get it
I fossil crafted my boots. I’ve found it much cheaper to fossil craft 35% movement speed boots than to buy them, generally. If you’re interested in doing the same I’d recommend buying at least ilvl86 boots, and using a Sanctified + Shuddering + Prismatic or Pristine. I used Prismatic for mine. I also happened to hit the “% increased movement speed if you’ve hit an enemy recently” Delve mod which feels really nice.
We’re using a dagger for the global crit implicit. Platinum Kris is the best base. Fossil crafting your own is a decent option. Buy an ilvl 80+ shaped Platinum Kris, and use a Primatic, Metallic, and Aetheric Fossil. You’re looking for the “Damage penetrates % of Lightning Resistance” if you can get it, as well as a few of these affixes:
- % Increased Critical Strike chance for Spells
- % Increased Spell Damage
- % Increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier
- Lightning Damage or Lightning damage to spells.
If you can’t find the spell damage affix on any decent daggers, the new Spell damage, and Gain % of Non-Chaos Damage as extra Chaos Damage veiled mod is actually excellent.
If it’s a shaper base you can also look for:
- Area of Effect
- Gain % Elemental Damage as extra Chaos damage
If you’re fossil crafting look for:
- Damage penetrates % of Lightning Resistance
This is what really pulls the build together.
The biggest bottle-neck to your clear speed as a brand build is the cool down of Brand Recall. Brand Recall’s cool down recovery speed is increased by 10% per gem level. The maximum level for Brand Recall is 6, and can be corrupted up to 7.
Linking it with an Empower, ideally a level 4 Empower brings it up to 10.
Vix Lunaris gives +2 to socketed gems bringing each of those gems up 2 levels.
The grand total level of Brand Recall will be 14, with a cool down recovery speed of 130%.
On top of that, quality and levels on Brand Recall increases Brand attachment range: 4% per level and 1% per quality. Brand attachment range is a very important stat for clear speed, and will allow you cast Brand Recall less often.
Linking it with a level 4 Enhance in this shield gives it 40% quality on top of the 20% quality it could have already for 60% increased Brand Attachment range.
Vix Lunaris also gives you a sizable amount of Evasion rating. More % increased Evasion than Queen of the Forest does.
If you wanted to get really crazy you could get a +1 to Level of Socketed Gems corrupted implicit on top of all that.
I'm using the Vix Lunaris instead of the combined version for the evasion rating.
We can't be frozen anyhow, so that doesn't really make a difference.
“% Increased Movement Speed while affected by Grace” is what you’re looking for. It should be relatively cheap.
If I could afford to use an Aul’s, I would pick up a Watcher’s Eye with both:
“% Increased Movement Speed while affected by Grace”
“Damage penetrates % Lightning Resistance while affected by Wrath”
I'm sure I'm forgetting a couple good affixes. Remember that you will need a Corrupted Blood Jewel if you want to use 2 Unique flasks.
We will also need an Abyss Jewel with the "% Chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill" modifier on it, as we will not be using a Silver Flask.
Absolutely Massive AoE. It seems a little silly since we’re not a projectile build, but trust me; Dying Sun feels amazing with this build.
Vessel of Vinktar:
Lightning Penetration Vinktar is a great Flask for this build. You won’t have any trouble clearing trash without it, but it helps a lot with bosses, and will give you an enormous amount of leech which is nice.
Atziri’s Promise is a solid choice if you can’t afford Dying Sun, or just don’t want to use it.
Alchemist's Jade Flask of Reflexes:
If you have well rolled evasion on your gear, and a perfect 100% increased evasion rating Jade Flask, you will not need a Stibnite Flask to hit 45k evasion, which allows you to use another Unique flask.
Alchemist’s Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline:
Gotta go fast.
Experimenter's Diamond Flask of Warding:
We’re a crit-based build, so this is a no-brainer. I chose to put Warding on this Flask, because Experimenter’s will mean that I’ll be warded for longer.
Alchemist’s Stibnite Flask of Staunching:
If you cannot hit the 45k evasion with just the Jade Flask (which is very difficult to do) you can use a Stibnite Flask. This will mean that you can only use one of the three unique flasks I listed. Play around with them and see which one feels better to you. Vessel of Vinktar is probably the your best bet, but I personally prefer the way Dying Sun feels, even if the damage is worse.
If you can hit 45k evasion without the Stibnite Flask, you will need a “Corrupted Blood cannot be inflicted on you” corrupted implicit on a Jewel.
Arcane Blessing allows us to drop a Heat suffix, which is why we do not need it.
Increased Critical Strikes:
The reduced Critical Strike chance is not that big of a deal. It reduces your crit chance by the Base crit, so you're losing something like 6-7% effective crit chance. Well worth it for the damage Controlled Destruction provides.
Brand activation frequency is affected by modifiers to cast speed. Your brands activating more frequently = more damage.
Lightning Penetration Support
We do mostly Lightning Damage so this was an obvious choice. I’ve tried swapping this out for Increased AoE, Added Cold, Added Lightning and stuff like that, but none of those felt quite as good.
We're using Call of the Brotherhood, so enemies will always be chilled. This is a large more multiplier to your damage.
Instead of Hypothermia, I use Chain. This is a major departure I take from other Storm Brand builds. You lose a lot of damage with Chain, but it does significantly increase your clear speed. Casting Brand Recall once with Chain supporting your Storm Brand often clears 2, or sometimes 3 screens of monsters. That’s not an exaggeration.
The loss of damage is significant, but stacking up Purity of Faith will more than make up for the damage you will lose.
If you don't like the damage decrease, or if you are farming a map boss with phases, Hypothermia is your best bet.
A note about AoE
Area of Effect does not increase the Brand attachment range. It only increases the Area of Effect of the actual beams that are sent out when they attach. Still a somewhat useful stat, but not worth a support gem in my opinion.
Herald of Ice
We need a way of generating Frenzy charges.
Increased Area of Effect:
Bigger Herald of Ice explosions.
We need to use Enlighten so that we have Mana to cast our spells. We will have 2-3 Auras up remember, so we need an Enlighten in each.
I explained all of these gems in the gearing section already. They should be socketed into a Vix Lunaris shield.
A major benefit Storm Brand has over something like Vaal Spark, or Vaal Storm Call is the ability to use Vaal Haste.
Cast when Damage taken setup probably doesn't need to be explained at this point. You will have Endurance charges if you took the "Conviction of Power" Ascendancy.
Lightning Golem gives us cast speed, which is actually a nice little damage increase for this build.
If you have an Aul's with either of the mods mentioned earlier: you can use Wrath. If not, only use Grace. Link whatever Auras you're using with Enlighten so that you have enough Mana to cast your spells.
If your single target is just too bad
You will have a lot of open sockets, so the rest is up to you.
Last edited by IceCreamHead7 on Dec 31, 2018, 9:20:23 AM
Last bumped on Jan 12, 2019, 10:58:17 AM
on Dec 27, 2018, 5:33:30 PM
Thanks a ton for your guide. I noticed you haven't received any love on it but I've referenced it multiple times by piecing together your guide and a few others on a Storm Brand Hierophant. Your gearing options have been particularly helpful in deciding weapon/ring combos on top of a few others. I've been working on a quant char and EVA stacking + quant is hard to gear so I went straight quant and ditched QOTF. Lots of good work here and I wanted to let you know it helped a lot.
This build looks really fun and will allow me to exchange equipments with my storm pathfinder will definitely try it