[3.5] Armageddon Brand Hierophant - 10k effective life and over a million DPS

MoM non-crit Armageddon Brand Hierophant with Kaom's and Staff. Very easy to kill Shaper with it, should be all content viable for less than 10ex
Bodget version of this might cost 2-3ex and should be good enough to farm red maps.
Hierophant maybe won't reach as high dps as Elementalist or some crit Ascendancy, but he makes up for it with tankyness and few quality of life bonuses. Overall it's a very smooth playstyle.

Tl;dr 10k life and over a million shaper DPS. Reliable dps, no bullshit "on kill" or 5% chance to become Super Sayian bonuses that never happen when you really need it or require 5 seconds preparation ritual.

Path of Building link:
I had to add Arcane Surge to Flame Dash, check Elemental Equilibrium map mod and add extra mod to Cinderswallow Urn, because PoB doesn't see the bonuses from Malachai's Artifice, Hiero node and potion unique effect.
Remember, that it shows the dps per brand. We double that and add 20% Hiero bonus.
Also all my resists in game are 80/75, PoB just doesn't see Malachai Ring.

If you don't know what Path of Building is, google it, download, install, press "import/export" in top left corner, then "import from Pastebin" and paste the link above.

General description

This is tanky version of Armageddon Build. We don't care about crit, so we can focus on tankyness instead. But that doesn't mean, the damage is low. It can burst down Tier 1-15 bosses in 1-2 second, kill guardians or Shaper very fast and easily. People did Uber Elder with similar builds, so it should be all content viable.

Brands offer 2 playstyles in 1:
- You can put brands on enemies from safe distance, run around and wait for them to kill everything - similar to totems. You pretty much never die if you stick to this tactic, so do this for exping.
- Or be a man, run straight into monsters and spam Brand Recall. This is a super fast playstyle for farming, Incursion rooms, etc. But you might die on rippy maps while doing this.

Pros and cons

- Super tanky and safe playstyle
- Easy leveling, Storm Brands might be #1 leveling skill atm, Armageddon Brand isn't too far behind that.
- High damage.
- Build is very flexible, None of the items are mandatory, it can be done on a pretty low budget, different links, etc.
- Brands continue hitting enemy for 5-10 seconds even after you die.

- Can't do reflect maps.
- Despite being a self-cast, brands don't have the "feeling" of hitting monsters by yourself. It feels more like playing totems or traps, some people may not like that.
- Not so low computer spec friendly.
- Could be cheaper, obviously.

The budget

My current gear is worth 7-10EX. But it can be done much cheaper and still be good enough at least for red maps. Most expensive set pieces are:
- Kaom's Heart 1-2ex
- Decent Staff with +2 fire gems and cast speed. Crafting my current staff cost me 5ex, but I ran with much worse ~40c staff until Guardians
-Xoph's Blood 3-5ex - Tbh I'm not sure was it worth is, because you can't use extra Chaos damage with it. It's a great amulet nevertheless and if you have few spare exalts, I'd recommend it.
- The rest of the gear are Malachai Artifice and bunch of random rare stuff.


I'm going to talk about the numbers in my current gear, the one I linked here and in PoB link. With worse gear numbers will be lower obviously, but even very budget gear should be good enough for farming.
All of these mechanics you can get "on demand" any time you want, nothing really requires luck or very specific scenarios.

The offense:
- You pretty much always have Ele Overload, always ignite enemies and cover them in Ash when they hit you. That's 200k dps per brand. That's our trash killing dps (more actually, because we're talking about numbers against Shaper tankyness). It's enough to instagib any pack.
- If our Golem linked in Malachai Artifice hits the target, it gets resist penalty and our damage jumps 290k.
- If we drink potions it's 390k.
- If we also activate Vaal RF, it jumps to 535k.
- But that's the dps per brand and we can attach 2 brands to 1 enemy, who will also take 20% more damage thanks to Hiero node. So that's 535 x2 x 1,2 = 1,284 mln dps I think?

That's the "safe playstyle" DPS. But you can also be manly, run into enemies and do more damage with:

- Vaal RF, which with our life pool has 167k dps.
- Brand Recall - in case you don't know, Brand Recall not only recalls all brands to you, but also makes them hit your position. And Hiero can have 6 brands at once, if you hit an enemy with all, that's around a million damage. With ~1,7sec cooldown.

In other words that's enough damage to burst down half of Minotaur HP, before he even notices what hit him.
You can further boost the damage by self casting Scorching Ray on enemy while brands hit him. Or by using offensive curse. Or experimenting with crit.

The defense:
- Huge life pool, with mana from MoM and a bit ef ES I have 10 059 effective life on lvl94.
- As I mentioned, in general brands playstyle is super safe. Brands don't need your help to kill enemies, so you can focus on dodging dangerous stuff.
- Endurance changes, between recasting brands you have plenty of time for Enduring Cry.
- High regen and leech thanks to Hiero node, regen passives, clarity and Siphoning Trap - around 2,5k life/mana per second.
- Defensive curse - this is optional, but worth it imo.
- Some armor to not get swarmed by mobs.
- Elemental aliments immunity thanks to Hiero passive.

You can further boost your defense by linking Arcane Surge to Flame Dash and taking the Hiero ES node insted of Arcange Surge one. But I'm not sure, how reliable would be that Energy Shield recharge

The gear and gem links

The main source of our huge life pool. Any armor will do until you get it.

This is my current staff, which I crafted for 5ex. These are the mods you shoud look for. Spell damage and mana regen are a multimod from Betrayal. I liked it more than pure spell damage. If you don't go with Xoph's Blood, you might also want to get extra elemental as chaos damage mod.

This is my previous staff, probably worth ~30-40c. I did all tier 1-15 maps and even killed Chimera with it.
The links for Armageddon Brand are just based on the highest dps from PoB. It's not offcolor, so you need only few chromes for 5b+1r sockets.

Put lightning golem in this. He won't do much while farming, but will greatly help against bosses by reducing their resists.

Xoph's Blood is pretty expensive, but it's not mandatory. You could get away with any decent amulet. But if you have few spare exalts, I suggest buying Xoph's.

Cheap 55level helmet. You can replace it with something else, but I found the one with Herald of Ash enchant and stuck with it.
It might be better idea to swap Molten Shell for Increased Duration, but I went with Shell cause it makes me look cool.
Enfeeble for extra defense. If you manage to get a lot of Dexterity, you could try Temporal Chains instead. Or Flammability, if you just want damage.

I strongly recommend 30% movement speed boots. For the rest of stats just get life, mana and resists.
Flame Dash is our movement skill.
Brand Recall is a must have and doesn't need to be linked with anything.
Enduring Cry for easy endurance charges generation.

Any gloves with life, mana and resists will do. If they have open mod, I recommend crafting +1lvl AoE veiled mod and putting AoE gems in it.
You could link Herald of Ash and Clarity to Enlighten, but it's fine without it.
Instead, I took Siphoning Trap for nice source of regen.
And Vaal RF for burst damage.

Just any ring with life, mana and all the resists you need. It's good idea to craft damage taken gained as mana veiled mod for that extra regen.

Same with all rares, get a belt with high life, mana, resists.

Just the most useful potions for me. If you don't use Xoph's Blood, get Atziri Potion.

For jewels search for the ones with both %life, %mana and spell/fire/aoe damage, cast speed or resists/dexterity if you need them.

- Get some dexterity on one of rares, you will need it for the golem.
- Even if this isn't crit build, you should have some crit chance in your gear - just to always proc Ele Overload. Crit staff base is enough for that.

Bandits, Ascendancies, Pantheon

Kill all bandits.
Take Sign or Purpose, then Illuminated Devotion, then Arcane Blessing and after Uberlab try to get some mana on your gear and get Divine Guidance.
Pantheon doesn't matter that much, I took Garukhan for movement speed and Lunaris, cause it seemed the most useful


Start with anything, then get Storm Brand, then switch to Armageddon Brand. Honestly, brands are so good for leveling that you won't need any specific tips. Just wear random stuff you find and save money for Kaom's Heart and staff.

After 10th Act you can still do some white maps in crappy gear or buy Kaom's and search for 5-6 link rare Staff, they aren't that exspensive.
Either use +lvl of fire gems Essence on a white staff or search for one with things like +level to socketed fire gems, cast speed, fire/spell damage or chance to deal double damage.

I also suggest getting boots with high movement speed and using 2 Quicksilver flasks. Brands are very fast at killing multiple packs simultaneously, so you're going to spend most of the time running.

And use Anger until you finish Uberlab, then remove it and switch to Mind over Matter on tree.

Tree and the order of taking nodes

Tree in browser:

Here's PoB link again https://pastebin.com/6SSYZPKp

And this is the general order, I'd recommend for spending your passive points. Hopefuly my stupid idea with colouring it in paint is readable.

Once you finish Uberlab, take the Hiero mana node, Mind over Matter passive node and few mana nodes. Might need to respec few points for that. And try to get life/mana on all gear pieces.
Your effective life if now Life and Mana, which makes you super tanky.

They might nerf brands in the future, because they seem pretty op, tbh. But we'll see.
Last edited by osesek on Jan 11, 2019, 12:47:25 PM
Last bumped on Mar 16, 2019, 10:58:21 PM
Looks good, I am going to give it a try. Any advice on crafting a staff?
Last edited by Shaihulud on Jan 12, 2019, 12:25:27 AM
You need a base staff staff with +2lvl fire gems and 30+ cast speed or 100+ spell/fire damage. Then craft the ramaining mods. (You have to beat Pale Council for multicraft recipe).
If you have a lot of alteration orbs, some regals and annuls, you might try getting those on a white staff. Or search for a solid base on poe.trade.
I bought 6-link staff with +2 fire gems and T2 cast speed for 2ex.

Unless you're talking about the cheaper staff. In that case just get 6-link white staff for ~20 chaos and an Essence or few with +2lvl fire gems. As long as you aren't terribly unlucky and get at least 1 useful mod on top of +lvl of fire gems, you can craft another one and you have a solid staff with 3 useful mods.

Or just seach poe.trade for a staff with these mods:
+lvl of fire gems
cast speed
fire spell damage
chance to deal double damage
added fire damage to spells
mana regen

In this order of usefulness, imo.

If you don't go for Xoph's Blood, then extra elemental damage as chaos damage should also be great.
Last edited by osesek on Jan 12, 2019, 7:59:01 AM
How do you deal with lightning damage? without flasks you sit at negative 20 lightning resist? It doesn't seem worth it being one shot
Thanks alot for the build man.

Been following it from the start hoping my first build doesnt suck, currently lvl86.
It looked solid and in my experience so far it is!

Was saving up for a 6link staff with +2 fire gems, finally got 40 chaos and then the price jumped to 90-120c. My currency has doubled aswel at the time of writing so maybe ill try crafting one myself, not entirely sure how yet but thats what youtube is for :).
Last edited by De_Don on Jan 24, 2019, 6:51:16 PM
Blakwhysper wrote:
How do you deal with lightning damage? without flasks you sit at negative 20 lightning resist? It doesn't seem worth it being one shot

I don't have negative resists, it's a bug in PoB, because it just doesn't see the Malachai ring. All my resists are 80/75.

De_Don wrote:
Thanks alot for the build man.

Been following it from the start hoping my first build doesnt suck, currently lvl86.
It looked solid and in my experience so far it is!

Was saving up for a 6link staff with +2 fire gems, finally got 40 chaos and then the price jumped to 90-120c. My currency has doubled aswel at the time of writing so maybe ill try crafting one myself, not entirely sure how yet but thats what youtube is for :).

I can give you my old staff for free, if you tell me at hat time you're online. I quit this league some time ago.
No worries, but thanks! Been playing alot, think I literally copied everything of your build, don't know why I still have almost 200k (so 400k)less dps then you: https://pastebin.com/2TrxeX3K
Are you sure you copied everything? Including my edited mod on Cinderswallow potion and lvl1 Arcane Surge linked to something? Because PoB doesn't see the Cinderswallow effect and doesn't know, that Hiero always has Arcane Surge.
Last edited by osesek on Feb 5, 2019, 10:28:30 AM
hey just a note. i really liked your coloring in of the pathing for points. one of the reasons i followed your guide. thanks man.

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