[3.17]⚡Velyna's Storm Brand Occultist⚡ 5M+ DPS Leaguestart | Hidden and Feared Viable

3.17 Updates

Build should work great in the new league, no major issues that I can see. If I missed anything let me know!

An occultist version of my storm brand build, more damage than guardian and flexibility with offensive/defensive curse options. This version has a higher top end but a slower ramp up so feel free to play whichever you prefer. Brands are still very strong and I love the playstyle plus they make a fantastic league start requiring low investment to enter maps.

Latest PoB updates + Help: https://discord.gg/velyna

Path of Building: Leaguestart | LowLife Transition | Literal God

Twitch Stream: https://www.twitch.tv/Velyna

Build Video: https://www.youtube.com/velyna

Other Builds: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/2688095

1. Introduction

1.1.Is it good though?

1.2. Why brands?

Brands offer a highly mobile and therefore very safe playstyle, it's basically like a little totem that sticks to things and can't be killed. Along with the changes in 3.11 and addition of Swiftbrand support, storm brand had its damage increased and I'm enjoying the more active playstyle. It's also a fantastic levelling skill.

1.3. Pros/Cons
  • Smooth levelling: We use storm brand all the way through into endgame and the power curve feels great. In addition to being strong, it's an insanely fast skill for levelling with its drop and go playstyle.
  • Big scaling: We have tons of options to boost DPS, with all the aura's we run and the ability to scale them our potential is massive. This is a fantastic build to work on over time.
  • Safety: The playstyle of brands offers superior mobility compared to most other skills. We can spend our time focusing on staying alive.

  • Ramping: This build can take some investment to comfortably steamroll high tier maps, and may have low boss dps when starting out. Can end up being expensive, as many LowLife builds are. Will feel fantastic with the investment though.
  • Not immortal: We don't have fortify or a massive health pool, you need to use your mobility well and not take oneshot hits.

1.5. HC/SSF/Leaguestart Viable?

Easy leaguestart, should be HC viable but it's not the tankiest build ever.

SSF will require dedication, lots of required uniques.

1.6. Upgraded PoB

This version is updated faster and has extra features. The PoB links in the guide all use this and there might be differences from the standard one.

Uninstall PoB before installing this or you might get errors.

1.7. FAQ
-Why am I dying in phys reflect maps?-
Wave of conviction deals phys damage and will give issues in reflect maps, you can either swap to frost bomb or remove wave for those maps.

1.8. Thanks
Theorycrafting mastermind and handsome gentleman.

2. Leveling

Leveling Trees

- The trees for new characters can be found in the Leaguestart PoB at bottom left. -

This will show what I used and how I specced while levelling a simulated leaguestart. We go life and armour at first while gathering gear for LL, if you have gear already feel free to skip this section and level however you want. I had a very easy time through the acts following this path.

Act 1





I use Freeze Pulse until brands.

Don't level Arcane Surge at all, and only level clarity until you can barely sustain mana.

Pick up some BBB BBG BBR 3Links along the way for later.

After doing tidal island and opening the cave you can get Frostblink, Flame Totem and Steelskin in town.

I put Steelskin on my move button so it autocasts as a free defence layer. You might need an Amber Amulet to meet STR requirements for awhile. IF the mana cost is too much stop leveling it or take it off entirely for awhile.

You get Clarity/Vitality after killing Brutus, I wear both if I have the transmutes to buy them. If not just get clarity.

Act 2






You will get Herald of Thunder and Concentrated Effect as quest rewards.

Help Alira.

Brand Recall is optional.

Act 3






Do the library quest and buy Swiftbrand, Elemental Weakness, Conductivity, Inspiration, Wrath, and Herald of Ice to start leveling in a weapon swap setup.

Can also buy Enfeeble if you want a defensive option later.

Take Malediction from first lab.

Act 4-6






After killing Kaom and Daresso you can get Hextouch from the vendor, link it to Herald of Thunder and whatever curses you want to run right now. I recommend Conductivity+Enfeeble or temp chains but you can do double DPS if you want.

CWDT setup is a nice defence layer, I usually put it in an armour base shield for easy coloring.

Act 7-10






Second lab around level 52, Profane Bloom.

Third lab take Forbidden Power.

Check the gem setup in Leaguestart PoB once you finish the acts because what we wear may change at that point.

Once you get through the acts make sure to have capped resistances and life on every piece before entering maps.

Armour or armour/ES bases in every slot is recommended, except shield where we need ES base.

Make sure your Cast When Damage Taken setup is linked and if you want some more safety use Enfeeble as curse 2.

Last edited by Velyna on Feb 20, 2022, 9:34:36 AM
Last bumped on Jun 5, 2022, 10:45:58 AM

3. Gear

This is a rough breakdown of the upgrade path from early league to endgame bosses, each section will refer to one of the PoBs near top of guide.

Phase 1: Leaguestart

Use Leaguestart PoB

Since this is a LowLife build we have to do a bit of farming early league for the required gear, but we don't want to spend a ton doing it. This first PoB is designed to get you through acts, into maps and early atlas unlock on a budget.

Get used to the brand playstyle and take advantage of its strengths. You don't have to stand next to a mob while dealing damage, so you shouldn't be. Precast brands on things like essence, strongboxes, etc where you know mobs will appear. Run around/between packs not directly at them. And especially don't dash into a pack and THEN start dropping brands, drop first then dash in.

With everything listed above, farming out the LL gear should be easy. I recommend heisting because brands do quite well there and it's fantastic early league money. Just stand to the side and toss brands through doorways as they open it feels very safe. Don't worry if you hit a wall, this isn't a full build just a bridge to LowLife so stay where you feel cozy and farm.

Enduring Composure Cluster: Should be an early purchase, very big boost to defense when paired with Immortal Call.

Armour/ES 6L: Theres a divination card set for Holy Chainmail so bases will start to come up pretty quick. I just bought a white chest and rolled for life then used a regal + crafted.

Pure Talent: Pathing through templar start plus the jewels stats give us:

-Life/Life Regen
-Mana/Mana Regen
-5% elemental penetration

Crown of Inward Eye: The "Transfiguration" mods mean that your life/ES nodes also give damage. This helm can be used before and after going LowLife. Very good investment.

Templar Gloves: There are all around solid providing armour/ES/life/resists. Also usable before/after Lowlife and can be upgraded directly later with Elemental Weakness on hit corrupt.

Call of the Brotherhood: Put on one CoTB for now. Having that cold damage helps with chill/freeze and feels very cozy.

Flasks: You want corrupted blood and shock protection ASAP, these slots are flexible but PoB has recommendations. Also freeze protection if you don't have the ascend points for it yet.

----------------------------Before Maps / T1 Maps--------------------------------

-Match the gem setup in Leaguestart PoB, especially the trigger and curse setups.

-75/75/75 elemental resistance, life on every piece and as many armour or armour/ES bases as possible. The helmet slot especially should be a pure armour base, you can put your red CWDT setup here for ease. Chest should be armour/ES.

-Get the stun pantheon in, and whatever other one you want.

-Upgrade life flasks and get instant ones if you can, put on a granite and sulphur with some beneficial stats.

-Check trade for some early DPS boosts like +1 lightning or Spell gem wands and shield, corrupted 5L chest etc.

--------------------------------Early Mapping Goals---------------------------------

-Get a piece of jewellery with "% of Lightning Damage Leeched as Life".

-Hit 3.5-4K life.

-Start looking for the Enduring Composure small cluster, and path to the outer socket when you get one. This is a huge part of your early game defense don't miss it.

-For getting a 6L you have 2 options, buying one corrupted that has your colors or waiting for white bases to come up. I bought a base and rolled life then regalled + crafted, worked very well for me.

-Pure Talent jewel gives you 5% elemental penetration and some nice mana regen once your tree touches the Templar start node.

-Look for a +1 lightning gem wands with some of:

%spell dmg
%lightning dmg
Cast Speed
# added lightning to spells.

If you get a wand with open suffix, you can use it for a trigger wand later.

-Buy one Call of the Brotherhood now and wear it, the second can be bought whenever your ready to go LowLife.

Phase 2: LowLife Requirements

Don't switch to Transition PoB until you gather everything here.

This is a checklist of required items for the LowLife transition, if you have everything shown here it should be super easy. Technically it will function without the large cluster or the watchers eye but I don't recommend pushing far without them since freeze is such a good defense and it's based on DPS. Also make sure your character is at least level 88 and that you have ~40 regret orbs.

Several of these things you already bought in the last phase, the new ones are:

Shavronnes Wrappings: LowLife needs a way to hand chaos damage, we use Shavs and you absolutely need it.

Aegis Aurora: Another requirement. This is a big chunk of defense, even without the block corrupt which you don't need at first.

Presence of Chayula: Stun immune, chaos res, lots of ES. Together with shield and chest these make up the core of many LowLife builds.

Trigger Wand: If you can't get trigger craft yet, put level 1 CWDT + level 1 20% assassins mark in wand. This should work as a crutch until you get trigger but make sure your mana is being sustained. Make sure you get curses running ASAP since its a huge part of your damage.

Belt: Crystal base with ES/Strength/resist and open suffix if you can get it. We need a suffix on either belt or boots for an Aspect later.

Boots: At least ~120ES, Move Speed and resists.

Cluster Jewels: The small you should already have. Both of the nodes on our large cluster are massive DPS gains, this is a priority purchase.

Thread of Hope: Gives us Glancing Blows and Divine Shield plus a damage node.

Watchers Eye: %added cold with Hatred is a great option that gives DPS and life, it's also not overly expensive for just that mod.

Flasks: By now you should have quality on flasks and decent rolls for ailment protection etc. You will be going crit now so have a diamond ready, and Atziri's Promise is cheap as well.

Energy from Within: Very easy source of ES.

Call of the Brotherhood: You should already be wearing one, now we need a second.

Level 88: The transition PoB needs this many points.

40 Regret Orbs: Your entire tree needs to be reworked, and once you get 20% quality assassins mark in a trigger wand you can move ascend points over to profane bloom also.

Phase 3: Transition + Early Upgrades

Use Transition PoB, but look at God version for possible upgrades.

Gems: Make sure you level a set of support gems in weapon swap, so you have something to use after vendor crafting all your main ones for 20% quality once they hit level 20. EXCEPT Swiftbrand, just look to buy Anomalous Swiftbrand and add 20% quality to it.

Helm enchant: 40% increased Storm Brand damage.

Anoint: Doom Cast is big DPS.

Curse on Hit Gloves: With these corrupted gloves and a 20% quality Assassins Mark in the trigger wand, both our curses are now automated.

Wand: Upgrade your wand from the basic trigger one. You don't have to get the exact one shown just try for better than what you have. +1 to All Spell Gems is king because it hits aura's also. Cast speed, Spell Damage, % Lightning damage and +1 Lightning Gems are next priorities.

Watchers Eye: There are several upgrades from the starter %cold watchers, the easiest is Hatred Penetration. We also have a lot of auras that could roll a good secondary mod if you wanted to go for %cold + one of these:

-Clarity: % of Mana Gaines as ES
-Clarity: - Cost of Non Channel Skills
-Discipline: ES gained per hit
-Discipline: Es Regeneration
-Wrath: % increased critical strike chance
-Wrath: % increased lightning damage
-Zealotry: Cast Speed
-Zealotry: Crits penetrate

Catalysts: Start stacking up Turbulent Catalysts on rings, Fertile on amulet, and Tempering on belt. Very easy way to increase offence/defence directly.

Phase 4: Literal God

Use Literal God PoB

Helm: I never even did this, but you could corrupt for either +1 power charge or cold leech (which would save you a point on tree). Crown is a common enchant target so a supply of them should be available.

Gloves: These will free up a suffix from Spider Aspect, plus give
a very nice amount of %damage AND cast speed. Expensive because
you need the curse implicit. Another option here for a more
tanky character would be asenaths. And if you went that route
you could even potentially get +1 curse from amulet and a
corrupted asenaths to stack 3 curses.

Belt: Flat ES/%ES/STR/Armour.

Chest: +2 AoE Gem corrupt adds about 15% more dps.

Shield: Corrupted for more block.

Energy From Within: Easy target for high value corrupt, I prefer CB immune.

Boots: Try to hit either Ele pen or flat lightning enchant.

Watchers Eye: Hatred penetration with Zealotry cast speed/pen is top dps I think. There are so many good mods though it's really whatever you want.

4. Misc

4.1 Ascend
  • Malediction
  • Profane Bloom
  • Void Beacon
  • Frigid Wake

This is the final setup, during leaguestart I take Forbidden Power from third lab since Void Beacon isn't much use yet.

4.2 Bandit


4.3 Pantheon

Major: Brine King

Minor: Ralakesh

Last edited by Velyna on Feb 9, 2022, 10:42:29 AM
Would this work for a league starter in 3.14??
Would this work for a league starter in 3.14??

Will work fine yes.
Added links to media
i love stormbrand.

What do you personally think is the better of your 2 variants.
Guardian or Occultist?

Faralon wrote:
i love stormbrand.

What do you personally think is the better of your 2 variants.
Guardian or Occultist?

Guardian is tankier, Occultist has more damage.

That's really the only difference. Occultist can absolutely melt bosses at the top end.
Guardian is tankier, Occultist has more damage.

That's really the only difference. Occultist can absolutely melt bosses at the top end.

I don't suppose you have any rough numbers for the difference there?

I swear the last couple leagues I LOOK at this and I think about starting with it, pick something else, and then regret it. Maybe 3.14 is the time.
CallOfTheVoid wrote:
I don't suppose you have any rough numbers for the difference there?

I swear the last couple leagues I LOOK at this and I think about starting with it, pick something else, and then regret it. Maybe 3.14 is the time.

10%, bit more with very high gear
Last edited by Velyna on Apr 13, 2021, 8:45:03 PM
Added an endgame montage video with some bosses, delve, delirious map etc.

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