[3.3] TheRealTuna's Low Life Spark / BV Inquisitor || All Content Viable - Uber Elder Down! ||
======= Updated: 8/1/2018 =======
Welcome to my guide to Low-Life BV/Spark!
I originally started with the whole Spark / BV concept by following Bashtart's guide which can be found here: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/1838569/page/1
Eventually, I decided there were a few things I wanted to change, and came up with my own version. We originally intended for this guide to be made a part of Bashtart's thread, but the guide was too large and so I decided to make a separate post. This is not meant to be a "competitor" for Bashtart's guide, but rather another take on the concept he demonstrates with a few tweaks that modify certain elements of gameplay.
The guide will highlight similarities and differences between our two versions, and will also explain how to transition from his version to mine if you feel that you would be interested in trying the build out.
Core Differences from Bashtart’s Pure Lightning 3.3 Version:
Based on Energy Shield instead of Life
Utilizes “Low Life” state for series of benefits
Uses Call of the Brotherhood with Herald of Ice for satisfying clear
Pros and Cons (vs. Bashtart’s)
+ Stun Immunity via Chayula’s Presence
+ Free 30% more spell damage (Pain Attunement)
+ 5 auras / heralds (can/must dip into life for reservation)
+Allows us to boost damage and survivability for “free”
+ Higher Overall Regen / Sustain / Facetanking Capabilities (~10k max ES + Zealot’s Oath +
Warlord’s + Energy Shield Recovery Rate on Watcher’s Eye)
- No healing from flasks
- Unable to take advantage of Choir of the Storm (you can, but Chayula’s Presence is too important to give up)
- Unable to use Inpulsa’s (locked into Shavronne’s Wrappings)
- Hilariously tiny light radius due to 99% life reserved (without Arcane Vision)
- Not as budget (Presence of Chayula, etc). Otherwise, gear cost is mostly the same until end-game optimization.
- Virtually no free ring slots -- Call of the Brotherhood and a Warlord’s Mark ring are core.
We use Spark as our main clearing tool and Blade Vortex in conjunction with Spark as our single-target boss killer setup. We use Call of the Brotherhood to convert some of the lightning damage from Spark to cold damage, which, in addition to a high crit on Spark, allows us to inflict freeze and shock on enemies consistently. This also allows us to proc Herald of Ice, which is perhaps the most satisfying sound / feeling in all of PoE!
Sample Videos (make sure to switch to High Quality!):
Recently optimized my recording settings so newer vids should be better quality...Uber Elder fight, unfortunately, was done before I did this so quality isn't great
Colosseum Map (Tier 14) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nno0M7MEReM
Red Elder (Tier 15) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlaYhIiCqw8
Shaper - https://youtu.be/KXv25X1JkTc
Uber Elder (doable with no deaths if I had better mechanics :d) -
** Have since done this fight several more times and can do it consistently with only 1 or 2 deaths, but ended up transitioning to an Elder T16 shaped/elder atlas strategy so haven't done it since. Definitely possible to do this fight deathless.
Skill Trees / PoB Links:
Current Skill Tree (Lv98): https://pastebin.com/kaHduwFW
Sample CI Transitional Tree (Lv76): https://pastebin.com/p8bgS61b
Soul of Arakaali: Arachnoxia is simply essential for boosting survivability. There is no substitute for this. This, in conjunction with Blood Rage and CWDT, provides a near-permanent boost to survivability.
Soul of Tukohama: Provides strong mitigation and life regen while stationary. This allows us to facetank even better, and is especially useful since we are stationary while ramping up BV. Life / ES regen is huge for this build.
Ascendancy Class and Points:
We go Inquisitor for the extraordinary bonuses we get to crit capabilities and regeneration.
I recommend investing your first point into Sanctify. This provides a solid amount of survivability in the early game which can be hard to get. Some people prefer going Righteous Providence into Inevitable Judgment right away, but I find that it is better to get survivability first and that you don’t really need the additional damage that badly early on.
Your second and third points should be invested into Righteous Providence and Inevitable Judgment. This enables you to get Inevitable Judgment right in time for mapping and dealing with high resist mobs. Righteous Providence is huge in helping to get Herald of Ice going early on as the additional crit chance will result in a lot more frequent freezing.
Your last point should be invested into Pious Path. I would love to get Pious Path earlier but don’t know if we can forego the damage from Inevitable Judgment that early. Pious Path is an insane boost to survivability (+6% ES regen and immunity to elemental ailments) and QoL in general (no more mana problems, substantial attack and cast speed buff). The build really comes together with this final point. If you can, I highly recommend you get someone to carry you through Uber Lab asap so you can get this point asap.
It is also worth noting that if you do NOT have Pious Path, you may need to sacrifice a bit of reserved mana to run clarity depending on how much mana regen you have in your build. Once you get Pious Path, you will no longer have any mana problems and Clarity becomes obsolete.
Next league I may try to take Pious Path before Inevitable Judgment to see how it goes due to how huge Pious Path is for the CI / Low Life variations of this build.
Instruments of Virtue and Augury of Penitence are both extremely strong nodes in their own rights. However, Pious Path is 100% required for the build to sustain as well as it does and Inevitable Judgment is 100% required for achieving high damage levels. There is simply no possibility of taking anything else.
Current Gear (Headhunter obviously not at all required, just fun):
An optimal weapon for this build is one that has a strong combination of spell damage, added spell damage, critical chance on spells, critical strike multiplier, cast speed, and attack speed. Getting an optimal version of this weapon would likely cost a ton of currency, and I am still working on mine. Even without essential stats and rolls, my current weapon performs extremely well with a healthy combination of damage and nutty attack speed (1.9 APS). The goal, in my opinion, is to find a weapon that feels as fast as brightbeak but also does damage. The increased attack speed, to me, makes the game much more fun and fluid than a little more damage. It is for this reason that I used the Karui Sceptre base (1.5 APS, 26% Ele damage implicit) to craft as opposed to something like a Void Sceptre (1.25 APS, 40% Ele damage). In the end, it comes down to preference, but I strongly prefer the faster APS than a little extra damage.
Get a brightbeak at Level 20 and that will last you until Level 75. Although Brightbeak doesn’t have any actual damage stats, it has insane attack speed which translates to excellent shield charge mobility as well as some solid resists.
Once you hit level 75, an extremely strong budget option is Doryani’s Catalyst, which boasts a fair balance of all of these stats for a very cost-efficient price. Don’t worry about swapping over to an optimized rare spell dagger or sceptre once you have a Doryani’s until you get the rest of your gear in order. Doryani’s is 100% good enough to get you to and through end game content.
An optimal shield for this build is one that has some well-rolled combination of spell damage, increased critical strike chance for spells, cast speed, resists, and high ES.
I am extremely happy with my current shield and don’t expect to find one that is too much better for an affordable price.
Getting a rare 300 ES shield with decent rolls should be pretty affordable overall. If not, progressively lower your ES search value by 10 (290, 280, 270, etc.) until you find a shield that fits your price range. Unfortunately, there aren’t any unique ES shields that I feel are sufficient for this build. We rely so much on having high ES that ~200 ES shields just don’t do the job well enough in my opinion.
An optimal Helmet for this build is one that has some well-rolled combination of resists and high ES. Any stats (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence) are welcome but not required. You absolutely want the “+3 Projectiles to Spark” uber lab enchant on your helmet.
My current helm is awesome apart from the fact it has spark projectile speed instead of additional projectiles. Projectile speed is nice but not as good overall.
Most any 200+ ES helmet with the “+3 Projectiles to Spark” enchant will be good enough for a long time. Even if you can’t find a decent “+3 Projectiles to Spark” helmet early on, just go with some 200+ ES helmet and use an extra Hazardous Research jewel to compensate.
The optimal -- and really, only -- body armor for this build is a high-rolled 6-linked Shavronne’s Wrappings. High ES doesn’t mean a thing if you can get clipped by some tiny amount of chaos damage.
There is no budget option in the game currently that can take the place of Shavronne’s. The only “budget” version of this, I suppose, would be a 4 or 5-linked Shavronne’s. This is why I did NOT start the league as a low-life build, and actually transitioned from a regular life version into a CI version and then finally into my current low-life version once I got my Presence of Chayula and 5-linked Shavronne’s.
The optimal glove for this build is a horror essence-crafted glove with “Socketed gems are supported by Level x Faster Projectiles”, some decent stat / resist rolls and as high ES as possible.
It took me somewhere between 25-30 horror essences, if I remember correctly, to hit 2 gloves with the Faster Projectiles mod. This is reasonably expensive. Luckily, even though some of my slams resulted in complete trash gloves, some ended up pretty well and sold for a solid amount (one sold for 2.5 ex, a few for around 50c, and so on). Ultimately, I didn’t LOSE too much going for these gloves, but the process of risking slams consistently on the most expensive essence in the game can be taxing.
There are plenty of solid budget gloves for this build. Kalisa’s Grace is a solid pseudo-5 link, but forces you to NOT take either faster projectiles, spell echo, or increased critical strikes, all of which are sorta important (but you can manage without one of them in this case). Voidbringers are not bad, but are restricted to only 4 links. It is also probably really easy to get a generic “Socketed gems are supported by Level X Faster Projectiles” glove with decent ES and resists.
The perfect boots for this build would be a combination of well-rolled resists, move speed, possibly some stats, and ~150+ ES.
I currently run with "2% life and mana regen if you took damage recently" enchant, but the “16% increased attack and cast speed if you killed recently” enchant is also very good. I think both are very strong and viable. The attack and cast speed ones are probably better for mapping, and the regen one probably better for bossing. Use what you prefer.
High-rolled Sin Treks are very cheap and offer a ton of ES as well as good move speed, Dex, and Int. It is extremely difficult to overtake Sin Treks in raw ES when trying to craft a rare boot, and they are overall just extremely cost efficient. I currently use these and have no real plans to swap them out as I am not severely lacking in anything another pair of rare boots could offer.
Chayula’s Presence. I personally will not play a build without stun immunity because I feel that stuns are so super insanely annoying. I hate the stutter to my gameplay after getting stunned. This amulet prevents that and also provides a gigantic chunk of ES. Lastly, it provides a large chunk of chaos resist which is also welcome.
Choir of the Storm is also an extraordinary amulet for Spark builds in general, and would fit here nicely. However, I can’t bring myself to not use Chayula’s Presence as I feel like it offers too much to ignore.
Chayula’s Presence is really pretty crucial for achieving high tier ES. Until you can afford it, you can use pretty much whatever you want to cover missing stats / resists in your build.
Ring slots for this build are pretty set in stone. In one slot, we use Call of the Brotherhood. This is essential for turning Spark into a skill that can freeze and subsequently proc Herald of Ice. This is not required in general for Spark to be good, but it is required for the Herald of Ice variation of Spark which I feel is extremely satisfying to play. I currently use a CotB with a +discipline aura effectiveness corruption. I intend on getting a nice double corrupt on a CotB eventually.
In the other slot, we use a Warlord’s Mark on Hit ring. The optimal setup for this ring would be an assortment of resists and stats.
Call of the Brotherhood is already pretty cheap and there is no other item that fulfills the function of this ring.
Warlord’s Mark on Hit helps a ton with sustain. At first, I got the cheapest one I could find with this effect and didn’t stress the additional benefits of the ring (well-rolled WM on Hit rings can be extremely expensive). Before you get this ring, you can, again, use whatever you need to to keep your stats and resists up to the necessary level.
Stygian Vise with 45+ ES and 40+ to all resists with crafted movement speed or a well-rolled Crystal Belt with similar resists but ~130+ ES. Stygian Vise has the advantage of being able to hold an Abyss Jewel which can have a slew of useful effects. Stygian Vise is better for versatility while Crystal Belt is better for raw ES. Or, Headhunter if it is available.
“OK” Stygian Vises are pretty cheap. It should not be difficult to get a 30+ ES belt with 2 resists at +30% or 40%. There aren’t many unique belts that are particularly good for this build.
Still trying to figure out the optimal flask setup myself, but Vinktar’s with Leech and Spell Damage is definitely part of the setup. Diamond Flask is extremely helpful. Quicksilver for fast clear. We use a sulphur flask to ensure we have consecrated ground and for a slight damage boost. Atziri's Promise for a significant damage boost.
All of the above flasks are sufficiently cheap.
Hazardous Research with “Corrupted Bleeding does not affect you” is 100% essential. Corrupted bleeding can be such a pain, and finding one of these jewels with this corrupt is pretty easy.
We also use 1x Energy From Within jewels in near the melding area in our tree. It is also possible to fit in another Energy from Within setup near the Nullification area on the right side of our tree, but would require giving up some other stats which I feel are useful.
We also use one Watcher’s Eye jewel, and the effects of this jewel are massively important for optimizing this build. The optimal three-liner would be 1) % of Max ES regen under discipline, 2) % ES recovery under discipline, 3) % increased lightning damage OR critical strike chance under wrath. I currently use a jewel like this which can be seen in the "current gear" section of the guide.
Any other jewel slots should be slotted with 40+ ES abyss jewels, at least one of which has a 6-8% chance to gain onslaught on kill. Other good stats are added spell damage, crit multiplier, resists, and missing stats. Regular jewels with strong stats, such as increased lightning damage, crit multiplier, increased ES, and so on, are also solid choices.
Hazardous Research with corrupted bleeding prevention is already budget.
Energy from Within is also relatively budget, but you also don’t need them until your node areas are established. Until you get these areas in your tree established, you can easily use any ES / damage jewel you can find for cheap.
It will be quite difficult to get an optimal watchers eye, but plenty of budget versions exist. Any combination of any of the following mods will be highly beneficial:
- +% Max ES regen
- +% ES recovery
- % of physical damage converted to lightning damage (this buffs BV specifically)
- % of physical damage gained as lightning damage (this buffs BV specifically)
- % increased critical strike chance
- % increased lightning damage
For any jewel slots that remain, use any jewel that you need to cover missing stats or resists.
Vaal Discipline - Arctic Armour - Blood Magic
This is the setup that allows you to reserve 99% of your life so that you stay in a Low Life state. We use Arctic Armor for some much needed mitigation. We use Discipline for that juicy bonus ES and to ensure activation of our Watcher’s Eye extra ES recovery rate. Vaal Discipline is also an excellent emergency button when you find yourself in a tight spot. Blood Magic allows us to reserve life instead of mana so we can easily achieve the Low Life state.
***Be advised: in order to run the build as I currently do, you MUST have a Level 21 BM gem. This, along with a 1% mana reserve gem and the Sovereignty ring on the left, allows us to remain at 1% life reserved. If you are missing a level 21 BM gem and 1% mana reserve gem, you can use 2 additional points to get to the reduced mana reservation node near harrier (shown below) which allows the build to function normally.
Cast When Damage Taken (Level 1) - Immortal Call (Level 3) - Summon Lightning Golem (Level 3) OR Stone Golem
Pretty standard CWDT setup. We use Immortal Call for some brief immunity (which synergizes well with endurance charges from Warlord’s Mark off our ring) but more importantly to synergize with the Soul of Arakaali / Arachnoxia Pantheon node. Lightning golem is for additional attack and cast speed and I personally prefer to not have to deal with casting it, so I attached it to this setup. Your choice between Lightning or Stone Golem; Lightning golem makes you move and cast faster, Stone golem makes you regen / face tank better.
Herald of Ice - Herald of Thunder - Wrath - Enlighten (If you have onslaught gem)
Herald of Ice - Herald of Thunder - Wrath - Onslaught (If you DON'T have onslaught gem)
Nothing fancy here, just your aura links.
Vaal Blade Vortex - Physical to Lightning Support - Increased Critical Strikes - Increased Critical Damage - Added Lightning Damage - Spell Echo
This is our main boss-killer / single-target setup. The essential 4-link here is Blade Vortex, Physical to Lightning conversion, Increased Critical Strikes, and Spell Echo. Introduce the other gems as you improve your links.
People might question the Spell Echo choice as it does not support Vaal BV in any way and ultimately results in a loss of damage for Vaal BV. Despite this, I prefer to center my gems around the main skill of Blade Vortex and I really only consider Vaal BV icing on the cake. As strong as it is, it will have significantly less up-time against the bosses that matter.
As you may have already inferred by now, I enjoy a quicker gameplay style. Spell Echo allows for that. It feels much less clunky than if you don’t have it, and so my preference is to keep it in. It also allows us to stack our BV fast enough to allow us to integrates Sparks into our damage rotation.
Ultimately, what you enjoy more will be up to you. I recommend trying out this setup, and then replacing Spell Echo for another damage mod (Elemental Focus, Controlled Destruction, etc) and see what you enjoy more.
I will say that I do NOT like to attach BV to Concentrated Effect. I feel the range of BV with Conc Effect is way too small and it makes positioning around bosses significantly more annoying. I also don't use Elemental Focus on BV because I do enjoy shattering stuff while mapping with it on occasion.
Ultimately, *optimal* damage links would mean taking out spell echo and added lightning and replacing with Conc Effect and Elemental focus. I don't do this because I feel the damage is already good enough and I prefer to retain the QoL elements of not using this supports.
Again, this is a personal preference; I recommend you try out a few setups and see what you prefer.
Vaal Spark - Pierce - Increased Critical Strikes - Spell Echo
The gem setup on our gloves is pretty much set in stone. Spark is our main clearing tool, and in order for it to function properly it needs to 1) hit as many mobs as possible, 2) crit Often, 3) go fast, and 4) be casted quickly. There is really no alternative to this gem setup in my opinion. At one point, I tried extending into the “Additional targets pierced” node cluster to the right of our tree to free up a slot, but found that the amount of points required to get there did not justify the extra gem slot. Pierce is just really good anyway as it provides the piercing functionality and also adds a solid chunk of damage.
Shield Charge - Faster Attacks - Blood Rage - Arcane Surge (Level 5)
Your mobility + Arcane Surge proc.
There are a lot of different ways to level in Path of Exile. I personally leveled this season using pretty much Spark exclusively from Level 1. Realistically, it doesn’t matter that much what you use to level, and there are people out there that can offer better leveling advice than I can because my leveling process is far from optimized. I would recommend you follow Bashtart’s leveling guide as that seems pretty solid in its own right, and, for the sake of convenience, in the following section I will describe how you should transition into this build version from Bashtart’s leveling setup.
Transitioning into Low Life:
In order to transition into Low Life, you MUST have the two following items:
Presence of Chayula
If you don’t have these two items, I would not recommend transitioning into Low Life. These two items are essential for making Low Life worthwhile and without them you are better off running another Spark variation.
When transitioning into Low Life, there are two primary routes you can take:
Bashtart’s version → Low Life [Late Transition]
Bashtart’s version → CI variant → Low Life [League Starter Route]
1) From Bashtart’s Version to Low Life [Late Transition]
This is probably the easiest transition overall because there is no intermediary transition but will require the most amount of regret orbs / refund points / gear switches. Because Bashtart’s version focuses on boosting life and mana and Low Life does not care about either of these stats, a lot of nodes will have to be adjusted when you switch over to Low Life. Additionally, a lot of the gear that Bashtart uses for his build does not intersect with the gear required for Low Life, and so even though there is no intermediary step, the transition will be reasonably costly.
2) From Bashtart’s Version to CI to Low Life [League Starter Route]
*** For a sample transitionary skill tree for around Level 76, look at my Skill Tree section above. I intentionally made the gear in this tree to be relatively modest and attainable for the level (with the exception of the The Ethereal chest, you might not have enough to get it at 76 unless you're a bit lucky).
This is what I did this league and I found it to be very smooth. Because CI also relies entirely on ES gear as low life does, a lot of the gear you’ll want will carry over well into the Low Life version, which will ultimately save a decent chunk of money. This is particularly important at the start of the league when currency is worth significantly more than later on.
I will say that I did not transition into CI from Bashtart’s setup (rather, I took Bashtart’s setup and made some tweaks to it during the leveling process to accommodate my own playstyle) until Level 80. My transition from CI to Low Life didn’t happen until probably around 85 when I managed to farm up a Chayula and rolled with a 5-Linked Shav’s.
Low Life builds are NOT budget builds because of the Chayula / Shav’s requirement.
I started off following the normal life / mana regen route and, once I get gear that was decent enough to get me by (some life rolls, some resists, and so on) I saved up my currency for ES gear. Sin Treks, ES gloves, ES helmets, and ES shields are all relatively cheap. The biggest component that signifies that you are ready to convert to CI is, in my opinion, the body armor slot.
I highly recommend buying 7 “The Ethereal” cards for this transition. Turning them in at Level 80 is best as the item level is based on the level of your character upon turn in and is capped at level 80. This will give you a 6-Link ES base that you can easily roll for a decent chunk of ES and resists (you don’t have to get anything super fancy, just some decent ES and resists) and is relatively cheap (near the start of the league I was able to get 7 cards for around 40-50c). You don’t have to wait till 80 to turn them in, but the level of the item will be lower in that case and your rolls won’t be as good. But, if you get lucky and get some fat drops early in the league and have the currency to transition with this purchase early, that is completely acceptable.
After this, once you get your Chayula and Shavronne’s, you can easily transition into Low Life as all your other gear should already have ES on it.
I am really enjoying this build and am actively working to optimize my own gear to take the build to its limit. As I recently defeated Uber Elder, I can say with 100% confidence that this build is fully capable of beating all content in the game. Please feel free to message me via forum or in-game to ask me anything about the build or post in this thread.
Last edited by TheRealTuna on Aug 1, 2018, 2:08:14 PM
Last bumped on Mar 13, 2019, 12:00:39 PM
on Jun 15, 2018, 4:02:46 PM
I just wanted to thank you for the tremendous effort you put into this guide, it's been very helpful!
Also, how are you getting to low life with Blood Magic - Discipline - Arctic Armour?
With a level 20 blood magic I can't run both, Discipline costs 59% and arctic armor costs 43%.. ah wait, Vaal Discipline.. nevermind, doesn't change anything..
Does it need to be a level 21 blood magic gem? Those are nearly 2 ex!
Edit: after vaaling 2 blood magic gems and not getting a level 21, I decided to put a 20/20 blood magic into a +1 helm and it still doesn't cut it, I'm now questioning if a level 21 gem in the +1 socketed gems helm will even suffice..
NOTE it will take a level 21 blood magic gem, the 14% reduced Mana Reserved from the Sovereignty nodes, and a 1% reduced mana reserved Hazardous Research Cobalt Jewel corruption. Alternately spending 2 points in the Leadership nodes should also do the trick.
Last edited by Gunlex on Jul 12, 2018, 11:36:04 PM
on Jul 10, 2018, 2:30:25 AM
Updated the guide with some new information to herald the upcoming race!
I will continue to update the guide with images as I learn how to.
May upload a few new videos as it has been a while and the current ones I have up are slightly outdated -- the build is even cleaner than before!
on Aug 1, 2018, 2:09:37 PM
is inquisitor still the best ascendency? could you do this build as elementalist? or even occutilist
on Aug 20, 2018, 5:01:18 PM
You can likely run this build on a few ascendencies, but the synergy this build has with the crit-boosting capabilities and life/es regen of the Inquisitor makes me feel like the build would probably function best on Inquisitor. I'm sure with a few tweaks you could make it work on other ascendencies, however.
on Aug 26, 2018, 12:19:34 AM
Any changes for delve?
Want to try to switch to this build, currently leveling following Bashtart guide.
on Sep 2, 2018, 2:26:00 PM
Can you help me figuring out a version with Skyforth?
I know its a lot of changes, but my guess is that it would improve the gameplay
on Sep 22, 2018, 4:44:36 PM
(╯ಠ益ಠ）╯︵ ┻━┻ ︵ ǝ︵ o︵ d
on Sep 22, 2018, 8:48:18 PM
Great guide! @therealtuna. I would like to try this build out on 3.5, is there anything that needs changing?
Anyone else have any comments on whether anything needs adjusting for 3.5?
on Dec 12, 2018, 3:44:14 AM
requesting betrayal update.
Also, you can run shavs with 3/3 sockets (3 socket Curse on Cast, Herald Of thunder+ Warlords mark (while Searching for fusing links and Warlord's ring)
Curious if WinterOrb could take place of BV?
on Jan 3, 2019, 3:13:19 PM