[2.6] Crit BF HoWAquisitor [1300 INT, 67k tooltip, 13k ES, Stun immunity] NO SKYFORTH/ASTRA

Having inevitable judgement and avoiding the use of lightning penetration means that this is the build with the highest tooltip DPS for HoWA Blade Flurry, all the while preserving a modestly high ES pool as well as avoiding the stunlock problems that some of the other builds may have. Effective DPS versus normal mobs/map bosses may not be the highest however because other builds depending on penetration will deal more damage (-ve resists is better than ignore all elemental resists). However, consistent dps output will be higher in maps as compared to penetration-based builds because of the prevalence of +elemental resistance/hexproof/elemental equilibrium mods on maps.

Build Concept
This is a build that stacks INT, makes use of the Hand of Wisdom and Action claws for DPS, uses ES and the ES% bonus from INT as the primary form of Defence and neutralises the traditional weaknesses of CI by taking Unwavering Stance as well as Templar's Pious Path to be immune to stun and unaffected by elemental status ailments.

You generate frenzy charges from Blood Rage, and power charges by killing creeps cursed by HoT/Blasphemy + Assassin's Mark or by CWDT - BV - PCoC.
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The KEYstones
Chaos Inoculation - Grants Immunity to Chaos damage, Max life becomes 1
Unwavering Stance - Stun Immunity
Vaal Pact - Life/ES leech is instant

Suggested Ascendancy
Inevitable Judgement - Self-explanatory really
Pious Path vs Augury of Penitence + Instruments of Virtue - If you want QOL (unaffected by status ailments), increased damage for your allies (if you play in party) and some ES regen to counteract Blood Rage, try Pious Path. I'll probably also obtain a Gifts from Above at some point to experiment with this. If you want more DPS, go for Augury + Instruments of Virtue.

FAQs
Spoiler

Why Unwavering Stance? Is it really necessary?
In SC? Of course not. Anything goes in SC. That said, having stun immunity improves your gameplay experience tremendously. In addition, it frees up flask slots for more DPS. In HC, take it from a HC CI veteran, it is definitely necessary. True, you can try your luck and be careful to avoid getting stunlocked by ranged mobs. However, HC is all about minimising chance of death. No matter how careful you are, all it takes is that one moment of non-concentration or bad luck and that's you dead because you couldn't whirl away in time due to being stunlocked.

Does more INT = better?
Yes, but only to a certain extent in terms of offensive utiliy. Stacking INT provides diminishing returns as your INT gets higher, especially when you have a limited number of skill points and the presence of %elemental damage nodes. To provide a simplified example: if you have only 100 Int, grabbing another 10 Int will increase your final DPS by 10%. However, if you already have 1000 Int, grabbing another 10 Int will only increase your final DPS by 1%, and will be inferior to a 10% elememtal/lightning damage node for instance as that particular node will increase your total DPS by 10% of your base damage, which will likely ultimately be >1% of your final DPS.
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Elemental Reflect, the Killer
Spoiler
Elemental reflect is a killer, no doubt about it. The higher your DPS, the more trouble it'll give you. It's still manageable in solo play when monsters' HP is low, as you can see from the chimera fight video I provided, but it'll definitely be difficult to deal with in party play when monsters' HP is scaled up. There's no real work-around aside from deliberately gimping your DPS, but its worth it to do so if it means that you don't die an embarrassing death when mapping with your friends.

Elemental reflect maps: Replace WED with life leech and drop wrath for purity of lightning
Party Play: drop wrath for purity of lightning
Solo Play: Judge for yourself the balance between your DPS and ES. If your DPS is too high for your ES to handle reflect, consider getting better ES gear or just dropping wrath for purity of lightning until you get upgrades. Also, when you see ele reflect rares, don't build up BF stacks on them. Just attack them with individual isolated stacks of BF so you take less damage from reflect each time and can leech back on your subsequent hits.

Alternatively, if your DPS is high enough (if you have enough INT for example), there isn't even a need to use Wrath. You can just use Herald of Thunder/Arctic Armour and use Purity of Lightning. See the different aura/buff set up section below.

Gameplay Videos

Stats and Discussion versus Raider
Spoiler
Stats based on Level 92 and a 6L of:

BF (21/20)
ICD (20/20)
Incr. AOE (21/20)
Incr. Crit Strikes (21/20)
EF (21/20)
WED (21/20)


Damage in Hideout

Qrf2fTo
Damage with Charges, Blood Rage + Consecrated Ground
ANXkZEb
Stats based on a 6L of:

BF (21/20)
ICD (20/20)
Conc. Effect (21/20)
Incr. Crit Strikes (21/20)
EF (21/20)
WED (21/20)


Damage in Hideout

jFsra9Y
Damage with Charges, Blood Rage + Consecrated Ground
ihhMoc9
In terms of consistent mapping DPS (i.e. taking into account all the detrimental elemental resist/equilibrium/hexproof mods):
Inquisitor Crit BF > Raider Crit BF > Raider Non-Crit BF = Raider Non-Crit ST

HOWEVER, Raider's elemental status immunity is a huge plus. At the end of the day, it depends on which one gives you a higher fun factor, and I suspect that for most players, the answer to that will be raider.

link to my raider version

The Three Phases of Growth aka Skill Tree Progression
Spoiler

Bandit Quest Reward Choices
Normal: Kill all the bandits for an extra passive skill point
Cruel: Help Kraityn for %attack speed
Merciless: Kill all the bandits


Unique Jewels
Fertile Mind x 2 --> Placed at the sockets to the right of and above Ranger
Brute Force x 1 --> Placed in the sockets at the left of Marauder
Emperor's Wit (later on in the game for min-maxing purposes, not necessary for the build to function)

The Fertile Mind jewel to the right of Ranger can be removed later on in the game for a good rare.


Growing pains

The Chaos Immune Phase
Spoiler
102 Points Feel free to spec more %ES nodes than DPS nodes if your base ES is low

End-Game
Spoiler
119 Points

Once you get enough ES gear to make it >10k ES, I would advise switching to the tree below for more DPS:

119 Points

Also, once you've obtained Enlighten level 4, swap HoT for Blasphemy + Assassin's Mark as it'll provide a larger damage boost.

If you find yourself having mana issues and wish to use Discipline + HoT + Blasphemied Assassin's Mark instead of Discipline + Wrath + Blasphemied Assassin's Mark (which will be a slight DPS drop over the former), you can save 4 points by going for this tree: 115 Points

Gearing Requirements
Spoiler

------------- In decreasing priority ------------->

Helm: ES, Int, Resists, Accuracy (provided you can max your res)
Chest: ES, Int, Resists
Gloves: ES, Int, Attack speed, Resists/Accuracy (provided you can max your res)
Boots: ES, Int, Resists
Amulet: Astra is too expensive and lacklustre. Get a rare ammy with WED, crit multi + int/dex
Rings: Weapon Elemental Damage, Resists, Accuracy, Int
Belt: Weapon Elemental Damage, Resists, Int
Jewels: Attack speed and 2 x Crit multi. 4th mod can be w/e. Check my gear for jewel examples

Please, get at least 2 pieces of gear with 250+ accuracy.

Example of my gear previously
Currently


Example of my gear now
Spoiler




Flasks
Spoiler
1 x Vinktar's (the version that adds lightning damage to attacks)
1 x Diamond Flask of Staunching
1 x Silver Flasks of Staunching
1 x Sulphur Flasks of Warding
1 x Vinktars +damage to attack
1 x Dying Sun

Suggested links on Gear:
Spoiler

Early game: Blade Fury - WED - Incr AOE - Lightning Pen - Faster Attacks
Late game: Blade Fury - WED - Incr AOE - Faster Attacks/Incr. Crit Dmg - Incr. Crit Strikes - Elemental Focus/Incr. Crit Dmg

Enlighten - HoT - Discipline - Purity of Lightning
Lightning Warp - Less duration - Blood Rage
CWDT - Ice Golem - Immortal Call
Whirling Blades - Faster Attacks - Fortify - Vaal Discipline/Haste
CWDT - Blade Vortex - PCoC - Incr. Crit Strikes (if you choose not to run Blasphemy - Assassin's Mark)

If you intend to use Blood Rage, please ensure it is linked in one of your claws to allow for weapon swapping.

Remaining sockets just fill with Vaal Discipline/Vaal Haste/Vaal Grace/Flicker or whatever you want.

The different Auras/Buffs set ups
Spoiler
Maximal DPS Version: Discipline and Wrath

Balanced DPS Version: Discipline, HoT and Purity of Lightning
This version is recommended if you want more protection versus reflect. Your DPS will fall by about 5% but you will then get approx 23% reduced damage from reflect due to the 4% incr. maximum lightning resistance and the loss in your DPS.
- Get a level 20 HoT with 23% quality - way cheaper than a level 21 HoT and provides higher DPS.
- You will need a Level 3 Enlighten to pull this off comfortably.
- You will gain 1-2 suffix slots on gear - you won't need that much lightning res on gear
- You will lose 2 gem sockets due to the need for HoT + Enlighten.

Slightly Tankier Version: Discipline, Arctic Armour and Purity of Lightning
This version is recommended if you are already doing alot of DPS but want more protection against phys damage and reflect. Your DPS will fall by about 12% (compared to the Wrath version) but you will also get >40% reduced damage from reflect (compared to the Wrath version).

Blood rage is optional. I linked it to lesser duration so it lasts about 4-5 seconds before running out (assuming I don't swap weapons). I have weapon swap macro-ed to one of my mouse key buttons so it is actually really easy to weapon swap x2 for me. I can do it within 0.5s, and unless you have high ping --> 150ms++, I would recommend trying it out. To be honest with you, It can be reasonably useful during boss fights for that little bit of attack speed boost. (you don't need souls for it unlike vaal haste). Granted, you won't benefit from the frenzy charges if the bosses have no adds, but the almost free attack speed boost is a nice plus if you're going to be almost constantly leeching.

Early Game Gameplay Tips
Spoiler
The difficult part of this build is actually being able to progress through the earlier levels. If you can get through that you'll do fine.

In this section I will attempt to outline the early game gameplay of this build.

Early Game Gear
Focus on gear that gives you +life, namely leather belts with +life and rings/ammys with +life.

At this stage, ES gear is weak, so I would recommend you to stack Evasion, resistances and HP to improve your survivability. Main objective here is to survive till late game where you can equip good ES gear. Weapon-wise, between level 1 - level 22 just use any decent bow and level first with Poison Arrow, then with Lighting Arrow + LMP. Once you get to level 22, you can equip your HoTA Blinders and go ham with BF.

Survivability
Normal-Cruel
Summon Skeletons. Especially useful against flicker mobs and Kraitlyn as it gives them an additional target to flicker to and spares you the agony of being spam flickered to death.

Cruel Onwards
Skelly Brotem (Spell Totem + Summon Skeletons) will be your best friend. This spell summons a totem which will summon skeletons around enemy monsters, thus shifting aggro away from you and working better than Decoy Totem as the Totem itself survives longer due to lack of aggro towards it.

Curses
Temporal Chains/Enfeeble early on in the game if you need survivability.

Playstyle Versus Bosses
This is pretty much the same in most AARPGs. You will be weak early on. Your key to defeating the bosses will be to kite them. Whirling blades through to get the fortify buff, go ham on BF, whirl through them/other mobs again when the boss turns towards you so as to dodge and to refresh the fortify buff. Rinse and Repeat.

Against elemental bosses such as Merv and Vaal, stack resist rings. Versus Merv, get cold resists. Versus Vaal, get Lightning Resists and dodge his slamhammer (very important).

When do I respec to CI?
Spoiler

Only once you have enough decent ES gear and when you feel that chaos damage is starting to become a problem for yourself. You want at least 4.5-5k ES once you have respecced into CI to feel slightly comfortable.

In order to do that, you need to have at least 1.3k base ES from gear + discipline

Things to avoid/pay attention to when CI
Spoiler

Avoid Causic Mana Flasks! They will kill you because you have only 1 Hp

Puncture mobs are your worst enemy! If you're punctured, stop running! (and hope you have staunching flasks)

Build of the Week 14
The first Righteous Fire/Non-Shavronne's/Shavronne's HC
Shameless self-proclaimed theory-crafting extraordinaire and forum crusader
Last edited by Invalesco on Mar 3, 2017 10:48:54 AM
Last bumped on Apr 30, 2017 10:48:10 PM
1zQTUIe
Build of the Week 14
The first Righteous Fire/Non-Shavronne's/Shavronne's HC
Shameless self-proclaimed theory-crafting extraordinaire and forum crusader
How would you build your tree if you wanted to play Spectral throw, any big changes or anything?
@VirvellKillen - Warbands
"
Completed 36 ChallengesJocksson wrote:
How would you build your tree if you wanted to play Spectral throw, any big changes or anything?


Hey, yup if I wanted to build ST I would probably go for this:

Spoiler
https://www.pathofexile.com/passive-skill-tree/AAAABAUBAPndRUfAZkMxTP-0DMrTvooy0evu6rrDOio4lwYaj_ba-wkZikZxES8fQQMeKwqfy6cwAedGaTboGlVhIa3xGF0NfFfJ-WOVzO0_N9RRR3cHhxOjiu4O_MUNjVuvTiqQCij6I9OPYG8nmmrsGH_GLL8V14auVmOP-tDQX2qcpNN-hO-MNl3yEZYOSMHFlFy4kxzcApbSfJJuvFYpi5tu34aAMInTcFIqC20ZEVA1uacrkydsCyL0JJ0872jyvqd1y-pizZiNfoMJb57KSl-wm7WExcxmSpiLjI8aoS9iWt-YxKLnVCT9_97Tby5T2sEV9mJ5AAbveg==


To be honest though I'm of the opinion that crit BF is better than crit ST, simply because of the disemboweling cluster which only applies to melee.

Currently dealing about 18k ave damage at 8 APS with BF. Still got a bunch of crucial DPS nodesto go to still, will post some stats soon!
Build of the Week 14
The first Righteous Fire/Non-Shavronne's/Shavronne's HC
Shameless self-proclaimed theory-crafting extraordinaire and forum crusader
Wait a minute what is the point using light pen and ele weakness while playing inquisitor?
"
Wait a minute what is the point using light pen and ele weakness while playing inquisitor?


that was during the leveling phase when I took elemental overload and didn't yet have enough crit nodes to make going full blown crit worthwhile.
Build of the Week 14
The first Righteous Fire/Non-Shavronne's/Shavronne's HC
Shameless self-proclaimed theory-crafting extraordinaire and forum crusader
Promised stats so here they are:

Increased AOE is used in the DPS screens, not concentrated effect.

DPS in hideout
Spoiler
W4rjMIz


DPS with frenzy + power charges up, on consecrated ground and with blood rage on. No flasks
Spoiler
J981Dal


Defence Stats
Spoiler
j9HlauL


Gear
Spoiler


Some of the other gear I used while leveling
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Jewels
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Flasks
Spoiler


Tree


Note that the above screen shots also do not include the added 9% crit chance given by Assassin's Mark.

You may notice that I don't have any AOE nodes in this tree. I actually do have the 2 points in the templar AOE tree, but just respecced out of it to have a look at the total crit strike chance when I do eventually progress another 2 levels to invest in that cluster.

I'll be replacing one of the fertile minds jewel with another good rare jewel which should give me my dex back and boost my accuracy and AS up, thus increasing my damage to 23k x 8.5 APS.

In general, aim to have 3 pieces of gear with >300 accuracy to boost your chance to hit to >90%. Don't worry about astramentis, you don't need that. A good rare is better than astramentis, especially with astramentis' extremely inflated price right now. You don't necessarily need to have an ammy with high int. Dex is fine too if the ammy has enough of that, just like the other ammy I used while leveling (shown above). Choir of the Storm is also rubbish for the stats it provides. Its much better for spellcasters than for attackers.

Skyforth is unneccesary. If you use skyforth, you're forced to change your tree to invest in power charges which isn't much better than investing in generic crit nodes and INT. Also, you lose out on resists, ES and INT on gear. Excluding my chestpiece, 1 skyforth (35 ex) can easily fund the rest of my gear shown with change to spare.

Also, you may ask why I went pious path instead of augury of penitence and instruments of virtue. Simply put, although the latter two will end up in higher DPS, I feel that I'm already dishing out extremely high DPS and prefer the slight defensive boost that pious path provides in terms of giving me some regen to cancel out blood rage's degen as well as giving me partial elemental status immunity and making my flask options easier as a result. Purely a lifestyle choice, especially for mapping and in breaches.
Build of the Week 14
The first Righteous Fire/Non-Shavronne's/Shavronne's HC
Shameless self-proclaimed theory-crafting extraordinaire and forum crusader
Last edited by Invalesco on Jan 2, 2017 11:26:49 AM
Mini boss montage if anyone's interested

https://youtu.be/oINQXhLFiP4
Build of the Week 14
The first Righteous Fire/Non-Shavronne's/Shavronne's HC
Shameless self-proclaimed theory-crafting extraordinaire and forum crusader
I have a 90 assassin binos bf atm. I think I'll roll this one and see how it is.

Thanks for the guide, good to see you back!
MonstaMunch: "You're just jelly because you can't afford to mirror my rod. It's 100% reel."

GooberM: "How does that not warrant a good ol' stabby-stabby?"
"
Completed 21 Challengesdidevol wrote:
I have a 90 assassin binos bf atm. I think I'll roll this one and see how it is.

Thanks for the guide, good to see you back!


Thanks for the welcome didevol! Unfortunately I'm not gonna be as hardcore as before. More of a casual player now coz I've now entered the working world D:

Hope you'll have as much fun as I have! I'm kinda curious also to see how phys crit BF compares vs ele crit BF, although I suspect phys will be stronger due to the poison mechanic. Hoping to hear from you with regards to that!
Build of the Week 14
The first Righteous Fire/Non-Shavronne's/Shavronne's HC
Shameless self-proclaimed theory-crafting extraordinaire and forum crusader

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