3.14 Doc's Lightning Hierophant (all content) Crackling Lance + Brands (20-30mil effective dps)

Divine Flesh + Agnostic tanky 7-9k life/mana ehp

https://youtu.be/DSrAII24iNc (deathless a9 Sirus demonstration)
https://youtu.be/Ln_nD3xk5Ao (The Hidden Fight)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRAxFt2L5tU (Wave 20 Simul)
https://youtu.be/j_Cum3MG768 (The Feared, took a death xD)

The no archmage no indigon needed, all in one Hiero!

3.14 changes.
For 3.14 we're getting a slight nerf to the brand loyalty clusters, but it's only going to be 2-3% off our total enemies take increased damage sum, which is pretty insignificant.

For 3.13 I used explodes chest all league, didn't swap for bossing because there wasn't a need, but really the only reason I stuck to the explodes mod was for porcupines (a meaningful shock from either main skills is unlikely vs the targets that it would matter for, so elemental focus has been a go to.)
The clear speed issue isn't overly relevant, this build wasn't designed to break any land speed records anyways, but I did notice a difference swapping chests to test options for the build in 3.14. (I won't be rolling this but it is mostly unaffected by 3.14 changes and will continue to be an all content viable option.)

At any rate.
I threw this together in standard and gave a few test runs in maps leaving elemental focus in. Porcupines are easy enough to survive on this build as long as you don't dive straight into a large pack of them, but it's no fun playing safe in softcore. So for 3.14 look for a chest with the +1 active skill gems, and frenzy charge on hit. The +1 gems is going to be better bossing damage than what I ran for 3.13 anyways. The solution to ignoring porcupines would be swapping out elemental focus in the storm brand links, replacing it with an added cold.

Another consideration in light of the new Petrified Blood Skill would be cloak of defiance + low life spec. You could go anywhere from 2.5 to 3k life and have plenty of mana to cover a 50/50 split dmg to mana, with the extra damage reduction, as well as the way this build can handle damage over time, this is a really interesting option that can result in more damage and potentially even feel tankier than the higher ehp setup I used in 3.13.

I doubt this will be the most typical build guide. This is the first time I've decided to share a league project. I'll be as helpful as possible here, I'll talk about the things I think are important while working on this build, but I might skip over some of the things normally given in guides. At the very least I hope you can take something useful away from it.

PoB: https://pastebin.com/e2jcY2mz
(Crackling Lance does not appear to be a skill option yet, nor does it seem to recognize alternate quality gems, so it's missing the righteous fire bonus, and arcane surge bonus at the minimum. I know there are plenty of people that want the PoB though and the rest of the configs should be right.)

Build Concept
The goal of this build as a league starter was to take advantage of the free minimum charges introduced in patch 3.13, as well as taking advantage of brands in a way that could go beyond a typical brand build.

The biggest "pro" for me was the free physical damage reduction/all res from the min endurance charges. It's reallly nice to have pushing that first sirus round on limited gear. The all res from the endurance charges in tandem with a bandit choice of Alira is also a serious relief while gearing early.

The end game goal was to create a strong all around caster capable of all content including 100% delirious and a9 sirus. By combining the strength of agnostic and divine flesh, as well as hierophants affinity with MoM, you can get tanky enough with a modest investment.

I settled on using crackling lance in tandem with a pseudo link brands in the hat slot. I've taken advantage of global buffs like power charges, frenzy charges, arcane surge, and righteous fire to help keep both skills effective with very little detriment to either. This isn't the normal 1 skill for clear 1 skill for bosses setup, rather we can take advantage of brands duration to keep effective dps out while casting crackling lance.

*For HC I'd take a tankier approach, probably dropping brand loyalty for more liquid inspiration nodes, and pushing for at least another 1k life (more below).

Map Mod Considerations
Ele reflect is the only thing you really have to skip in SC, though of course with the right swaps/jewel implicits you can over come this. You can keep RF up for no regen/-max res maps, best to just leave it off for 60% less recovery rate.


The build is not unique dependent in the slightest, instead all gear slots focus on Criticals, cast speed, lightning gem levels and spell damage offensively, life, mana, chaos res, res defensively. (this is a tentatively prioritized order.) However there are some items and jewels I'd consider "core" to the build.

The build does focus on MoM, 60% dmg to life, 40% to mana. Hiero is great in this way because it requires no watcher's or chest mod for damage taken from mana before life, just needs MoM + ascendancy. I was asked recently why I reserve as much mana as I do. I'm sitting at about 4.2k life, which brings mana requirements to 2.8k to cover 40%. Since we aren't using archmage, there's no reason to worry about reserving less than what leaves you balanced for ehp, and the reserved mana still counts towards agnostic's life recovery (uses max mana value, not reserved mana value).


The flasks end up being fairly important for critical strike chance. I'd consider a diamond flask and an enduring divine mana flask mandatory by the time you reach maps. (you might make an exception with the diamond flask if you build elemental overload instead of crit, which is an option I'll at least partially cover.) You'll definitely want to pick up a bottled faith once you get going as well. Here are my current flasks.

Going divine flesh makes a glorious vanity "core" as well, though I'll point out now, and reference it again later, that divine flesh + rf is actually somewhat optional. In short, the defensive layer of divine flesh feels great, and makes RF easy to sustain. RF is adding a 40% more spell damage as well as 40% increased spell damage to both the brands and the crackling lance. However, you'll be trading at least two, probably 3 or 4 jewel slots. You'll lose 10+ passive nodes, and probably drop dual wield for a shield (min loss here is a gem level, a crit multi roll, some cast speed, and some %inc dmg).

Next are some items not quite core, but close.

1. Helmet
This is a fairly important slot once you're starting to min/max, I'd prioritize the pseudo 6l for the brands first. The brands keep map clear tight and fast, before a pseudo link hat I'd consider using brands as your main 6l, or spec crackling lance (or any other lightning spell) for clear rather than a strictly single target link set (gem links below)

A note of importance would be wrath reduced mana reserve enchant and amulet modifier.
Without these you'll lose some tree passives to mana/reduced mana reserved in order to keep a balanced life/mana ratio.

Next up you'll eventually want onslaught on synth boots or more reasonably, on hit ring synth
. The build can feel hungry for cast speed, onslaught feels good.
Getting a decent curse on hit ring will fill out the second slot. You could also use a dream fragments here, great option early. Or, essence wurm for wrath. Atziri's foible does work as an early amulet, but we aren't overly abusing mana into damage so it's not the meme here that it is other places.

The gloves can also be a pretty fatty upgrade. Unnerve + culling can't be beat. Getting some life, open suffix for crit/ele dmg if you've crit recently craft, both are great mods to have here. High end will look for max frenzy charge and spell damage influence mods (might not be available next league).

The shield.
. The shield might be the last item you worry about despite it's impact on running righteous fire. I attempted three different times to switch from generic crit to divine flesh righteous fire but couldn't justify the dps loss until I'd polished the other slots. There's two options for running RF divine flesh. The first would be to drop crit and go elemental overload. It's more natural, has less dps, but really frees up the tree (especially early before good crit jewels). The free power charges won't be wasted here either, simply allowing absolute minimal investment into elemental overload proc/uptime. The other is a shield like the one I've shown above. The max res applies to max chaos res as well, you could actually drop the %life mod and look for +max res combined with +max chaos res. This frees up one or two of your small cluster jewel slots, dropping born of chaos rolls for a rare jewel. Assuming the shield has +1 gems, crit and cast speed, you can finally justify the pure dps loss from dropping dual wield and the tree investment.

Running two voices is ideal for the finished build, but not mandatory. I've taken 4 "liquid inspiration" medium clusters, and 2 "brand loyalty" medium clusters. On equal footing with medium clusters are the 6 total jewel slots being added to the build. Rare crit multi Jewels are the name of the game here.

You'll also want to save room for a Watcher's Eye and an Apex mode jewel.
Apex mode is specifically for crackling lance.

Gearing Cont. (Budget Concepts and Post Harvest Nerf Considerations)
The big thing I want to point out here is that like with most builds, as you start to min/max the differences are pretty big, and as you get towards the end of min/maxing spending 100ex could be nothing more than a nominal upgrade. I had some extra time off during this patch, and was able to put some pretty decent gear onto this character but honestly it doesn't take nearly the investment I've used to get almost the same results.

For super budget, run the tabula, get an essence of horror and slap it on an elder hat, you get what you get, now you've got a 5l brands and a 6l lance. Your effective pool won't be good yet, and you won't have the divine flesh layer, but you will have some phys reduction and should have no issues with keeping res capped. Agnostic should be specced by maps though. Look to have about 3.5k mana, at least 2k of that unreserved, and 3.2k life. You'll be getting almost 1k life per second recovery from agnostic. You'll be squishy, but you'll have the recovery to tramp through traps in your labs, and stay up in your first Sirus battles.

Dual wield some scepters or daggers with critals and cast speed, maybe a gem level (gem level mods get stronger the more you have, so don't get too hung up on these mods early). I was using this
for quite awhile. Looks like garbage in the face of harvest made super items but the cast speed paired with some crit chance was big.

I've been hesitant to even link the chest. It's incredibly over kill and unnecessary, the power charge on critical is literally useless (but how can you not throw it on with a single aug crit from harvest xD). These chests will not exist next league. They shouldn't have existed this league. That aside, this is somewhat personal preference that can be worked around, but the explodes mod and frenzy on hit were a big upgrade. Frenzy charges are another global source of more damage and cast speed benefitting both of the spells, and explode mod gives us the safety of running elemental focus supports on both skills without dying to porcupines. Chests like the one I linked aren't insanely expensive yet, maybe 20-30ex for a similiar last I checked, which is actually insane for how much power is there, but again, going into next league just get the explode mod paired with frenzy. It will be a bit sad to lose the extra phys mitigation, otherwise there's little difference.

For jewels
cast speed and crit multi are awesome. Life% and mana% get pricey. Your first cluster will probably be a 2 or 3 mod 8 passive lightning large. This is fine, I wouldn't even worry about running brand loyalty yet, and instead go ahead and get your boosted recovery with liquid inspiration x2. If those aren't available, simply take advantage of 2 more rare jewels.

Don't swap to a voices until an adds 5 passives becomes available. It's still somewhat questionable, the 3 mod lightning cluster is pretty strong, but I prefer the option to stack another liquid or take that brand loyalty notable. You can sit on a single 5 passive voices for the rest of the game. You'll have the free passives to take an intuitive leap in the jewel slot above Witch start.
. This gives you access to Mystic Bulwark, Prodigal Perfection, Blast Radius, Brand Equity, Mysticism, and increased spell damage per power charge. I was tentative to drop that setup for the second voices. It was one of those expensive upgrades that had a fairly minimal benefit, but it is slightly better. You'll get the damage back from rare jewels alone, and can either go pure dps brand loyalty mods or cover some of the lost mana/life with 1 or 2 liquid inspirations + peak vigor, or pure sustain liquid inspiration + distilled perfection.

Sustaining RF
If you opt to turn on RF there's a good chance your mana drains even after taking divine flesh. There are a few ways to combat this.

1. Take mana recovery rate watcher's eye mod, and belt mod. I did not use either on this character but they're still good options. HH is ideal for mapping and covering dexterity and str requirements. Taking a less offensive watcher's is absolutely fine.

2. Take arcane surge effect nodes and "recover 20% of mana over 1 second when you use a guard skill" nodes (Arcane Capacitor and Dynamo). For my specific setup, RF is fully sustained as long as I'm using arcane cloak.

3. Use and Abuse the mana flask. I've gone this route as well, in tandem with boosted arcane surge the build maintains excellent recovery using an enduring divine mana flask. Liquid inspiration nodes, with at least one combined with spiked concoction, are really powerful. Currently I'm using 3 liquid inspiration mediums 2 paired with peak vigor simply for the 8% life and 1 paired with spiked.

4. You could also take purity of fire. Using a "wrath reserves no mana" Aul's Uprising would free up plenty of mana to do this. Dropping the +2 ammy is a pretty big loss though. Best route to add purity of fire would be taking advantage of "Pure Might" medium cluster nodes. 3 of them paired with replenishing presence would be a great option if you're running dual voices.

Gem Links

1. Crackling Lance: Intensify + Concentrated Effect + Elemental Focus + Spell Echo + Lightning Pen

2. Storm Brand: Elemental Focus + Lightning Pen + Added Lightning (added lightning/lightning pen may or may not be best in slot for you, definitely look at other options like faster casting until you've got the level 5 awakened added lightning gem or if you have substantial ele pen from other sources (jewel corrupts, tree, watchers mod, gear mods if not using gem level gear)
3.14: Since you likely won't be using explodie chest, consider added cold support in place of elemental focus, ensuring enemies like porcupines aren't an issue.

3. Arcane Cloak + Brand recall: Arcane Surge + Second Wind. Arcane cloak will proc a max level arcane surge (this is big) and second wind gives a little cool down reduction to both arcane cloak and brand recall. Brand recall hotkeyed to movement button is my preferred way to play, though you might find it beneficial to remove it vs big bosses.

4. Leap Slam: Faster Attacks + Fortify. This ones a given, and of course use whirling blades if main hand is a dagger, alt qual dash + enhance + alt qual second wind is my favorite setup if using a wand.

5. Auras: I'm running Precision (watchers mod + a bit of free critical strike chance, kept low level depending on max mana) + Wrath + Clarity. I keep them in a 4l with enlighten. ((Keeping a balanced mana pool for MoM is a potential obstacle for making the switch to two Voices.))

6. Righteous fire + Golem: Linked to Enhance, both gems being alt quality. Stone Golem is my preference for now, you'll get an extra 1% phys reduction from it with a level 4 enhance.

Bandit Choice
Alira of course

In order of importance: Conviction of Power + Divine Guidance + Arcane Blessing + Illuminated Devotion. I prefer elemental ailment immunity from Illuminated Devotion, an argument could easily be made to take sign of purpose instead. If you're less worried about phys reduction, and because power charge on crit chest mod is (for now) very easy to get you might even trade Conviction of Power out.

Play Style
The combination of a duration skill and main skill that can both deal viable dps has always been enticing to me. While mapping the brands do most of the clear, and should have little to no trouble popping full packs until 100% delirious maps. Crackling lance was my pick as a single target skill but others could work just fine. Vs bosses like Sirus it feels a lot like playing a DoT build. The brands have great uptime since we're ignoring swift brand support being a thing. Basically; applying heavier damage with crackling lance while always having a portion of dps effectively applied to the boss.

The extra synergy with brands is in the brand loyalty medium cluster notables and runesmith on anoint. As long as you've also specced Runebinder (-1 totems +1 max brands attached) enemies will take 10% increased damage per notable. In my build I'm using 3x brand loyalty, runesmith, unnerve, and bottled faith for a total of ~60% increased damage taken. The total increased damage taken applies for Crackling lance as well which really starts to justify the double skill concept.

Why This, Not That?
I think the big elephant in the room is why not archmage. Archmage is naturally a consideration, but by opting out of relying on the strength of archmage we free up how much mana is needed. With legacy gear mana is plentiful. In league, it's become much less so. This being considered, and wanting to avoid an even heavier mana sustain, I simply ignored archmage and focused on the alternative sources of damage. Without the burden of higher mana costs our flask recovery feels really strong as well.

So when I started 3.13 with this idea in mind I actually ran the brands in a 4l and thanks to a tabula from einhar early crackling lance in a 6l. This was a mistake. Even 6l'd crackling lance felt like dick early, and I was over eager to begin the hybrid brand + cast play style. I played straight through to maps at launch and barely managed an 8 hour grind to get there.

That being said, I'm not a racer, 6.5 hours is a "everything went super and I've already level'd this exact character so I didn't lose time on gem selections or mistakes" for me. I'm not the best person to take advice from if you're trying to push that tier 1 speed through to maps.

For this build I really think going more of a typical brand build into maps, at least long enough to get the anoint and a pseudo 5l somewhere, would be a lot better than how I went about it xD.

I won't go super in depth here because storm brand guides exist in plenty.

So, get storm brand after beating merveil. I'd go added lightning damage +faster cast for a 3l by mid act 2, + controlled destruction for 4l.
Up to act 3 you can always throw in a 2 or 3 link orb of storms for some extra damage and have it cursing on hit by the end of act 4. Also, swiftbrand becomes available by act 3, and is a great support for pure brand setups. I'd drop controlled destruction for swiftbrand in a 4l by act 3 and recommend this before pushing through to act4/5. From there you'll probably start looking at going crit, or speccing into elemental overload. Ele overload is probably the stronger option if you take the time to do your first ascendancy before act 5 kitava (recommended). Those min power/endurance charges give you the res, and crit chance for effective ele overload and safety going into act 6. From there, ascend once more before act 10 kitava and you should have a pretty easy time going into maps.

For your passives get Mind Over Matter early (run clarity), the next priority is Runebinder. Beyond that it's mostly preference on how much life + mana or damage you take and when!

Here are some early Skill Tree setups: (pob links are tree only)
https://pastebin.com/LLBPhMcR (early)
https://pastebin.com/YVanqPuN (early agnostic spec)
https://pastebin.com/DXwnPH9i (basic early mapping tree, 1 cluster, budget gear focus taking damage nodes in tree rather than relying on gear)

I'll continue adding more to this guide, if anyone has any questions please ask!
Last edited by theD4nk0wl on Apr 16, 2021, 5:56:20 AM
Last bumped on Apr 25, 2021, 6:54:01 PM
I like the build, a well thought out non-archmage heiro is always welcome. It does look a little complex at first and might not be the best char to start with if your just picking up the game. great use of the new changes to the asc. really shows off the hidden power GGG can give. Great work!

2 questions
on a side note do you think alira is best or would the 2 passives beat it out later in the game?
I wasn't able to peek at the pob yet but do you use a timeless setup at all?
GDRdestined wrote:
I like the build, a well thought out non-archmage heiro is always welcome. It does look a little complex at first and might not be the best char to start with if your just picking up the game. great use of the new changes to the asc. really shows off the hidden power GGG can give. Great work!

2 questions
on a side note do you think alira is best or would the 2 passives beat it out later in the game?
I wasn't able to peek at the pob yet but do you use a timeless setup at all?

Hey thanks for checking out the build. The guide is still a work in progress so I hope to address some of the core items much more in depth soon but to answer your question. Divine flesh is on glorious vanity rolled to xibaqua and was never moved to tree like some of the other timeless notables, so assuming you go the Divine flesh route you'll have to use a glorious vanity as your timeless jewel. As far as alira yes probably over 50% of the time, but it could vary depending on if you put more res on gear/jewels. Res aside the crit and flat mana Regen for two points is typically better than 2 tree passive nodes.
Can we get like a Tree Progression from 60+?
A pen isn't mightier than a sword...
Pens do not do battle, nor swords poetry.

Mighty is the HAND that knows when to pick up the pen, or pick up the sword.
Noble_Seiken wrote:
Can we get like a Tree Progression from 60+?

Good thought, I'll make and post some passive trees to give an idea of how I'd work towards the later levels. Thx for the feedback!
This build looks interesting, any chance of a PoB being pasted?
JohnSmithal wrote:
This build looks interesting, any chance of a PoB being pasted?

I'll get a PoB link back on this guide soon, before next league start for sure!
Bro, are you waill posting thepob after launch.? I m looking a starter ty
tmoont wrote:
Bro, are you waill posting thepob after launch.? I m looking a starter ty

Some minor updates for 3.14 as well as a tentative PoB link have been added
Last edited by theD4nk0wl on Apr 14, 2021, 4:58:30 PM

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