[2.6] Anti-Meta Pledge of Hands Arc Berserker

This is a guide for my arc marauder. I found a Pledge of Hands late in the Breach league and decided to make a build around it. This isn't a boss killer build (although I did Atziri and UberLab on it with relative ease), but a very decent T10-12 map farm character that needs relatively low investment to become great at clearing. It also doesn't use CI nor poison/double dipping, which means it isn't on the same power level as many of those builds, but unique and unlikely to get nerfed.


Core mechanics:

The build uses Arc for the majority of the time both as clearing and boss-killing tool and occasionally (against stationary bosses) Lightning Tendrils because of the better single target dps. The char has great leech and 40% more damage through the berserker ascendancy. Orb of Storms is utilized for cursing and activation of the Elemental Overload node. For the defensive the build has decent life pool (around 6k), 2k mana which protects the life through the Mind over Matter node and 100% life leech if one has taken a savage hit (15% of the hp) during the last few seconds which will leech instantly due to Vaal Pact. It is also converting 50% of the lightning damage to cold, so a lot of mobs are frozen or chilled.

Spoiler


The second image shows the damage of my skills while self-buffed (Elemental Overload, Atziri flask and 3 frenzy charges)



Pro:

+Good clearspeed
+Cheap
+Free spell echo gem support on Pledge of Hands
+Uses the best-looking armour (imho ;))
+Pretty safe
+Able to level with the main skill gem/other lightning gems
+Can do most map mods

Con:

-you have to play a bit more careful until you get the last 2 ascendancy points
-lacks single target dps
-less defensive then CI and less offensive then poison/double dipping builds
-probably not hc-friendly


Skill gems:

Spoiler
All gems are in order of importance

Main skill: Arc - Added Lightning Damage - Controlled Destruction - Faster Casting - Lightning Penetration - Iron Will (free lvl 30 Spell Echo gem through our unique weapon)

Single target: Lightning Tendrils - Concentrated Effect - Controlled Destruction - Spell Echo - Lightning Penetration (possible 6th link would be Iron Will or Elemental Focus)

Cursing/Elemental Overload activation: Orb of Storms - Curse on Hit - Elemental Weakness - Increased Critical Strikes

Cast when Damage Taken (level 11) - Immortal Call (level 13) - (whatever you like - Arctic Breath, Frost Wall, Vortex, ...)

Wrath aura socketed into the Essence Worm unique ring

And there is4 one 4 link left for whatever you would like to do with it. I'm using Flame Dash and Lightning Golem in it.



Gear:

This is the setup that I'm using and which will both give you good offense and defense. Please note that this build doesn't have any required uniques/gear - you can start to farm Dried Lake with two wands and a 4-link until you find/can afford better stuff.

Spoiler

Weapon: Pledge of Hands. I would recommend having a 5-link when you start with mapping. The spellpower can roll from 120-160%, so try to get a higher roll if you buy it.

Helmet: The Brine Crown. Added in 2.5 this unique has a lot of nice things going for it: Decent armour, life and cold resistance, you can't be frozen (which means you can open every strongbox without having to check for mods), additional armour and mana regeneration while stationary and the occasional chilled ground which is especially useful against bosses. A rare helmet works as well.

Chest: Atziri's Splendour, preferably as a high armour roll. I used this because it was cheaper then a good armour and then fell in love with the look. You can of course use a rare item and skin transfer it onto it.

Rings: Essence Worm (to use the Wrath Aura and still have 100% unreserved mana) and Call of the Brotherhood. CotB converts 50% of lightning to cold damage and gives 100% to shock against frozen enemies, which is great for both damage and defense.

Gloves/Boots/Belt/Amulet: Rare items. Try to get high life rolls and resistances on all of them, 30% movement speed on the boots and increased flask duration on the belt. Offensive mods for the amulet can be spell damage, cast speed and increased lightning damage.

Jewels: 5 rare jewels that have 3 of the following things on them: spell damage, spell damage while wielding a staff, increased cast speed, increased cast speed while wielding a staff, increased cast speed with lightning skills, chance to shock, increased maximum life. Here's a poe search for those things: http://poe.trade/search/imhasemobenana

And one clear mind jewel, which gives a bit of mana regeneration and 40-60% increased spellpower as long as we don't have any mana reserved. Try to get a high roll.

Flasks: I run Instant Health Pot with remove bleeding/Atziri's Promise/Granite Flask with increased Armour/Quicksilver Flask with freeze/chill immunity and a hybrid flask to be able to regenerate some mana in dangerous situations and no regeneration maps.



My gear at the moment:
Spoiler





Skill Tree:


Spoiler
https://www.pathofexile.com/fullscreen-passive-skill-tree/AAAABAECAQQHBLMI9AthD6sQWBQgFr8W6Ro4HNwdgx8CH8chkCL0JDckiyaVJy8qOCt4LJwtizBbMjQy0TWSNsU6WDrhPC09_EVHRZ1G10lPSbFMs03jUEJQR1M1U1JVS1XGVkhYY1nzXz9f0GHiZlRnm2jyakNsC20ZcYVyD3YRf8aCm4Nfg8yD24TFhTKFe4w2jM-PGpBVkyeUb5ctmFeaO5rgm7WhL6IAplenCKyXrj6vbLFCtz68qrzqvoq_CMBUwGbDOsauxtjMt9Af1XXVptfP2CTYvdq54XPkUeTs6hDr7uw47TzvDu-I7-vwH_JF9kj4X_k3_gr-jw==

Bandits are Oak/Alira/Kill all.

Ascendancy is Berserker which gives both an awesome 40% more damage multiplier and 3% life/mana leech so one doesn't have to care about mana reg at all. The 100% leech after the char has taken a big hit is also a pretty big deal.

The nodes behind Mind over Matter gave me 808 mana (1890 -> 2698). Because mana almost equals life those are one of the best and most efficient nodes in the whole tree. It also brings up the mana to almost 30% of (at least my) life+mana, which means that for a single hit your mana would only be completely empty when you get oneshotted. This means that if you're attacking while getting hit you should never not have enough mana to cast your next spell.

If you want to spend one additional point you can not take the Melding Cluster right of the witch start (4 points for 15% life, 3,75% life per point) and instead take the Blood Drinker cluster right of the ranger start (5 points for 20% life, 4% life per point).



Coincidentally a guide for the "All Ears" achievement (listen to all npc dialogue) has exactly this bandit choice, so if you want to do it this build is well suited for it ;)


The tree has enough strength and intelligence on it so that you don't need any stats on item pieces. It features 215% life and 6 sockets.





Levelling:

Spoiler
I used Molten Strike and Fire Trap together with Lycosidae until I reached ~24.

After that I equipped a few leveling uniques and two Tulfalls and mostly leveled with Storm Call (Arc isn't great to use at the start because it only chains 2-4 times during the early gem levels).

Around 50 I switched to two wands and leveled with those until I could equip Pledge of Hands and then run Dried Lake until 75. At this point I equipped my chest armour and started running T6+ maps.


I mostly just followed the main path in the skill tree and filled out the clusters around it. Try to get vaal pact as soon as you start with farming Dried Lake. I did the first lab around ~40 and got the Pain Reaver node (3% life and mana leech). After that you can wait quite a bit because the 3rd/4th ascendancy point doesn't really matter for this build. I got Crave the Slaughter and Aspect of Carnage before I went into maps and did the Uberlab around level 86 for Cloaked in Savagery, which really added another level of safety to the build.



Variations:

Spoiler
I tried quite a few things with this build.

You can run Repentance gloves and use an Empower Support (I only had lvl 3) to get a bit of additional damage, but because you lose the increased damage on the Iron Will support gem it is only a slight one (2k dps more in my hideout). I don't think this is worth losing the life roll on rare gloves and having a bit more trouble with overcapping your resistances.



Something useful during levelling and Dried Lake is running Herald of Thunder/Herald of Ice linked with the innervate support gem which gives you Onslaught on killing shocked enemies (which means it activates every time you shatter an enemy with Herald of Ice). You lose a bit of defensive due to having more then half of your mana pool reserved, but the additional cast- and especially movespeed (20%) is worth it when you do easy content imo.


A thing which is absolutely worth doing (if you have the jewel) is using The Green Dream.

At the location on top of the witch tree and together with the Frost Walker node this gives a 20% chance to get a frenzy charge on killing an enemy which is almost as good as blood rage and gives basically full frenzy charges for 90% of the time. If you use it I would also recommend helping Kraityn in merciless for an additional frenzy charge. 4 frenzy charges give us 16% cast speed and 16% more damage.


Something I experimented with is using The Perfect Form as armour. I'm losing about 350 hp, 1k damage (due to not being able to use Clear Mind) and 10% reserved mana for Arctic Armour, slightly increased Evasion and Phase Acrobatics. I also needed to change my gear/talents to have ~90 additional dex and additional resistances. I also lost the ability to have a single target because getting 5 blue sockets on The Perfect Form would cost 7k chromes on *average*. Having Phase Acro in this dangerous-spells meta is great, but the disadvantages are also pretty big. I'm still not sure if it is worth it.



Playstyle:

Spoiler
You run pretty close to the enemies, drop your orb of storm and start to hold the right mouse button until nothing moves anymore. Rinse and repeat. ;)
I did both Uberlab (which was surprisingly easy) and Atziri on this char, so it is possible although I wouldn't recommend this build for farming it. When you're against strong single bosses like those or map bosses you need to develop a sense on how dangerous their attacks are, if you can stand stationary with Lightning Tendrils and leech through the damage (that's f.e. possible with the Orchard boss when she does the beam) or you should rather dodge something and do the boss a little bit slower with Arc. Lightning Tendrils does about 1/3 more damage then Arc (5link vs 6link).




Thanks for reading my build guide! If you want to see the build in action you can watch me playing it at twitch.tv/white_plains either live or through VoD. I'm also going to add a youtube vid explanation probably somewhere around the next week.

Current league chars: Bladestorm Champion SSF
Last edited by Shaileen on Mar 8, 2017, 8:13:48 AM
Last bumped on Jul 28, 2017, 3:33:26 AM
03.03.17: Added 2.6 skilltree




[reserved]
Current league chars: Bladestorm Champion SSF
Last edited by Shaileen on Mar 3, 2017, 6:55:04 PM
Cool build! A similar idea has been kicking around in my head the past few days though with Inquisitor; however, now you've got me thinking. Additionally, I was toying with the idea of Ball Lightning or Storm Call throughout (likely with Lightning Tendrils for bosses). I'm curious if you experimented with either of these as I find the spells really fun but worry about late game?

I would also definitely run HoT and HoI under most circumstances for the love of the explosions (though I hadn't thought about Innervate, which is a nice touch).
Well, I wouldn't really recommend Inquisitor for a life-based build. Due to the nature of the ascendancy you would probably want to go for crit and I feel that the build would have to sacrifice quite a bit of hp nodes to get crit on the tree.

I leveled mainly with Storm Call (and just tried it), it works fine. The only thing to worry about is the slightly delayed leech. I didn't have a higher level Ball Lightning to test it, but I cleared a T10 map with my setup and a level 3 BL without any problems. It seems to be a really fun spell.

Of course you should probably modify the skill tree a bit, taking the aoe-nodes around templar and witch instead of for example cast speed and Less Duration Support for Storm Call and maybe inc. aoe for Ball Lightning?
Current league chars: Bladestorm Champion SSF
"
Shaileen wrote:
Well, I wouldn't really recommend Inquisitor for a life-based build. Due to the nature of the ascendancy you would probably want to go for crit and I feel that the build would have to sacrifice quite a bit of hp nodes to get crit on the tree.

I leveled mainly with Storm Call (and just tried it), it works fine. The only thing to worry about is the slightly delayed leech. I didn't have a higher level Ball Lightning to test it, but I cleared a T10 map with my setup and a level 3 BL without any problems. It seems to be a really fun spell.

Of course you should probably modify the skill tree a bit, taking the aoe-nodes around templar and witch instead of for example cast speed and Less Duration Support for Storm Call and maybe inc. aoe for Ball Lightning?


Thanks for the feedback, and for taking a quick glance at the skills! That sounds pretty promising.

My thinking was basically to go hybrid using some life and some ES for tankiness, including MoM and Ghost Reaver, as well as some Eva. You'd go left side picking up the AoE/tank nodes en route to Counterweight for the juicy staff crits, then work your way to the right side getting the Crit/AoE/tanky nodes en route to Ghost Reaver. I just did this quickly, but this is basically what I have in mind: http://poeurl.com/98W

It doesn't look too different from your tree, though you're right it would sacrifice a lot of the Life nodes around Marauder. What do your tooltip defenses look like? I think with obvious, non-ridiculous gear, it would be something like 145% life (3-3.5k hp), 1k ES w/ 3k mana for MoM (though you might reserve 50-60% of that), and 1.5k Eva, plus 30% block chance. Thus, unlikely to be a Shaper slayer (and obviously not HC viable), but I think you'd melt most content and have a lot of fun in the process. You'd also be able to run it early on (potentially as soon as Storm Call/Ball Lightning are available) and I think it would scale well, so you wouldn't have to run something else entirely until 68 (which I generally despise).
Currently playing a ball lightning variant of this character. The only thing different so far is the aoe nodes on Templar and 1 8% node by the witch. However, due to ball lightning not needing a single target setup I was planing on using kaom's heart. Also instead of taking the elemental nodes on the left of templar, just take more life. Furthermore, I think it is much more efficient to take written in blood than blood drinker. Also using kaoms roots and 4 life jewels, this would bring me to around 7.5k life. Heres the tree for it: http://poeurl.com/bagF

What do you think of this?
@ProfP: Looks good! You have almost 600% crit on the tree alone, which was more then I expected you'd be able to get. A bit on the squishy side, but in sc that's ok. :D And yeah, I levelled as lightning caster after 24 or so, I also dislike when you have to use some different skills until you can equip your uniques around 68. Regarding the mana reservation: With 3.3k life you 'only' need 1700 mana for MoM, everything else would kill you, so I think it might not even be an issue to reserve 50% of it. I have 2700 mana and you have a few more mana nodes on the tree.


@Trippy: The tree looks really good! Yeah, I always wonder if I should really take the elemental nodes at the templar or if they aren't worth it. Regarding Written in Blood vs. Blood drinker - I would have to invest one more skill point because I don't have the lightning nodes there. But if you have those, both are 20% life for 5 points, with Written in Blood having additional ES on it, so you're correct.

I would've loved to try this with Kaom's Heart, but I didn't have one. Obviously this will boost any life-based build a lot in regards to survivability. I'm not a fan of Kaom's Roots due to the missing movespeed - I rarely wear boots under 30% ms. You got a pretty good corruption on them though - but a problem might be that you need to cap your resistances from just 4 pieces (helmet, amulet, belt and gloves), not to mention overcapping for Elemental Weakness maps. But if you can manage that, you should really have a lot more survivability. By the way I love the name of your character ;)
Current league chars: Bladestorm Champion SSF
"
Shaileen wrote:
@ProfP: Looks good! You have almost 600% crit on the tree alone, which was more then I expected you'd be able to get. A bit on the squishy side, but in sc that's ok. :D And yeah, I levelled as lightning caster after 24 or so, I also dislike when you have to use some different skills until you can equip your uniques around 68. Regarding the mana reservation: With 3.3k life you 'only' need 1700 mana for MoM, everything else would kill you, so I think it might not even be an issue to reserve 50% of it. I have 2700 mana and you have a few more mana nodes on the tree.


Really appreciate the feedback! After our initial convo, I've spent more time planning it out and I'm definitely going to give it a whirl for my next character. For auras, I'm currently thinking I'll run Herald of Ice (b/c I love the sound of popping groups and it combos nicely with Call of the Brotherhood) and Clarity (b/c I'm a little worried about mana issues with the high cost of the BL). That would be only about 1k of 3k reserved even with Clarity at 20. I'm also thinking it could work great to use one of my 4L's to link Orb of Storms-PCoC-Curse on Hit-Warlord's Mark. That seems very efficient since it helps sustain power charges while also giving me what I hope is adequate leech without needing to drop in leech links to any spells and without needing to run a Blasphemy setup (which would almost definitely mean losing HoI and I don't want that). I figure I'll use my defensive 4L to run CWDT-IC-Enfeeble-Lightning Golem. That should give me an extra boost of survability (though you're right it's a bit squishy and not viable for HC) and I'm pretty sure Ice Golem will be more useful than Lightning Golem.

End result is something like:
Helm: Lightning Warp-Less Duration-HoI-Clarity
Gloves: CWDT-IC-Enfeeble-Lightning Golem
Boots: Orb of Storms-PCoC-Curse on Hit-Warlord's Mark

You've then got the Staff for your Ball Lightning/Storm Call/Arc/Shock Nova and your chest for Lightning Tendrils. I'm sure I'll play around with all four options for fun, but my plan is to settle into Ball Lightning for maximum fun.

Still sorting out items, but it seems clear that Carcass Jack, Voidbringer, Marylene's Fallacy, Berek's Grip, Call of the Brotherhood, & Doryani's Invitation are all BiS damage-wise. Might try it all with a circlet with good resists since most of those are very affordable apart from Carcass and maximum DPS is usually fun. Would probably be weak on Chaos res but pretty solid on the ele res.
Having a lot of fun with this build. Currently up to lvl 80 in T8-T10 maps.

One question:

How do you get endurance charges for Immortal Call with this build. I don't see anything in the tree or in your gear that will generate charges.
You don't get any. Immortal Call has a base duration of 0.4 seconds. The CwDt setup is mostly intended to prevent oneshots if you kill a group of of those spikey-thorns-on-death porcupines at exactly the same moment. :)
Current league chars: Bladestorm Champion SSF

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