[3.8] Storm Brand Inquisitor - Beginner Friendly - SSF/League Start Viable - All Content

Intro:

This is a beginner-friendly, league-starter viable, solo-self-found viable, and comprehensive Storm Brand Inquisitor guide. The leveling section in this guide is meant to take players with a fresh install or in a fresh league and get them into maps and started on a powerful character. Interested readers can find gear priority, stat suggestions, mechanics explanations, and a whole bunch of links that might be useful for newer players.

If you're new and want to get through the story and get off to a good start I recommend reading through the guide completely before starting.

Quick Reference:
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Final Skill Tree

Links
  • Storm Brand - Faster Casting - Added Lightning - Increased Crit Strikes - Controlled Destruction - Chain/Added Cold*
    • *Check the Gems and Links section to see what other links might be right for you
  • Brand Recall - Arcane Surge - Empower/Enhance
  • Cast When Damage Taken - Immortal Call
  • Flame Dash
  • Whirling Blades/Shield Charge - Faster Attacks - Fortify
  • Cast When Damage Taken - Lightning Golem

Item Stat Priority
  • Weapon: Gain as Chaos > Lightning Skills > Crit with Spells > Multi > Spell Damage > Attack Speed
  • Helm/Armor/Gloves/Belt/Boots: Life > Resists > Mana
  • Rings/Amulet: Life > Resists > Crit/Multi
  • Jewels: Life > Multi > Attack Speed > Cast Speed > Damage
Useful Links:
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The Essentials:

The Wiki - Enter a Quest Name, Skill Gem, Support Gem, Unique Item to learn everything you need to know about it: https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Path_of_Exile_Wiki

Path of Exile Trade - The official trade website. This game requires you to trade outside of the game but this is the site that's supported by the creators of the game. There is also poe.trade but you might as well use the official website if you're new: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade

Neversinks Loot Filter - A lot of items drop in this game and it can be overwhelming trying to understand what's important and what's not. A loot filter helps with that. To see what it is doing you might want to consider checking out filterblade.xyz and clicking around in there to see all the different things that are being included/excluded when you choose a strictness setting: https://github.com/NeverSinkDev/NeverSink-Filter/releases

PoE Lab - A website with not just links to the daily lab layouts but other useful pages: https://www.poelab.com/

Engineering Eternity - The gold standard for new player content. This particular playlist I've linked is his beginner series and is definitely worth the watch. I can vouch for how good this content is because it's how I learned how to play the game: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7GqFLebBU8inlrcqTZFXtIwP362XrdNe

Intermediate Tools:

PoE Trade Macro - Useful for trading once you get to maps. This helps you check the ranges on items or do cursory lookups of item value: https://github.com/PoE-TradeMacro/POE-TradeMacro

Path of Building - The game is essentially one big math equation when it comes to damage and this is basically a calculator for it. For people starting to ask questions like "What would be a bigger upgrade?" This is the tool for you: https://github.com/Openarl/PathOfBuilding

Advanced Tools:

Mercury Trade - When trading a lot of players this helps with kicking/inviting and automated messages: https://github.com/Exslims/MercuryTrade

PoE DB - Comprehensive website that can be tough to navigate but has all the info you could ask for. https://poedb.tw/us/



PoB: https://pastebin.com/mmGEzF8a

YouTube: New Video for 3.7 Legion League!

Full Playlist of all my videos related to Storm Brand since the start of the guide!


Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/thi3n

Update Log:
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3.8 Updates:
  • Removal of Mana Leech support mentions.
  • Adding Global +Lightning Gems as a modifier to prioritize in weapons.
  • Keeping an eye out for new uniques and support gems.

3.7 Updates:
Spoiler
  • Chain Support added in Gems and Links
  • Added Lightning Leech Temple/Delve mod to Amulets.
  • You can now shield Charge with Wands. Although you can shield charge you cannot proc fortify which I view as an important part of defense. I still recommend daggers/scepters over wands.
  • Removal of synthesized implicits and Offering of the Serpent from the guide.
  • Removal of Warlord's Mark. CWDT - Immortal Call is still fine.
  • Adding a utility Orb of Storms that contain links like Mana Leech support, Power Charge on Crit, Curse on Hit, etc.
3.6 Updates:
Spoiler
  • Adding a Tip and Trick as well as a mention in the Gem Section for Decoy Totem + Multiple Totem Support.
  • Adding a Tip and Trick for why you want flat fire damage your spells somewhere in the build.
  • Added a Gear snapshot for my deathless Uber Elder
  • Added Offering of the Serpent to gloves section as a "unique worth mentioning".
  • Added a snapshot of my Day 3 Uber Elder - Pure Clip from twitch for those interested. https://www.twitch.tv/videos/394924639
  • I know that loreweave has been nerfed and Storm Brand damage was nerfed. The build functions just fine, it's mechanically still great.
  • Added section in Shields about +2 Minimum Frenzy/Power/End Charges
Contents:

  • 1. Pros and Cons
  • 2. Gear
  • 3. Gems and Links
  • 4. Bandits + Ascendancy + Pantheon
  • 5. Leveling + Skill Trees
  • 6. Tips and Tricks
  • 7. Questions I've Answered
  • 8. Thank you + Other Guides


1. Pros and Cons
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Pros:
  • Beginner and League Starter Friendly. Virtually no gear requirements. Can be done on all rares. 4-link is enough to complete the story and progress into maps. Like all spells, the power comes from the level of the skill gem so progression feels smooth.
  • Brand Playstyle. Cast from range and stay out of danger. Place your brands and watch them pulse and kill enemies while you run around and pick up loot or plan your next move.
  • Mind over Matter. Acrobatics/Phase Acrobatics. MoM is one of the best defensive Keystones in the game. Acro/Phase Acro are great "free lives" while learning the game and helps for times where you just can't move away from damage.
  • Gearing is straightforward. Being Inquisitor makes the range of stats you care about even less. No need to care about the resist of your enemies means all you care about is life, resistances, mana, and crit.
  • Not that many buttons to press. I list this here as a pro because I can't be bothered to keep up multiple buffs, curses, golems, and whatnot. This guide is supposed to be new player friendly. You have your Brand, Brand Recall, and a couple mobility skills. That's it. For newer players this really helps manage flask usage.

Cons:
  • Can't do Elemental Reflect. Even with pantheons or anti-reflect rings you will do too much damage and one-shot yourself to elemental reflect. Look out for this mod when doing maps. Reroll maps with reflect and don't choose maps with reflect if Zana presents you with an option (be careful for unid maps!)
2. Gear
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In Depth Gear Explanation
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Helm
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Rare. Life and Resists are great here. For uniques you could consider things like Starkonja's. The Helm Enchant isn't particularly important with this build. Let non-inquisitors fuss over damage penetration and fossil crafting Nearby Enemies have -9 Lightning Resist. If you're late game the the 40% increased storm brand damage enchant is good - but it's additive with your almost 600+ increased damage already. Also if you're late game consider picking up Spiritual Aid which will convert % minion damage (like from a bone helmet) into generic % Increased damage for your Inquisitor.

Stats to look for: Life > Resists > Mana
Chest
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Loreweave. The all-purpose Loreweave is great for this build. The maximum resistances 78 is the most important roll. After that life/attributes/crit/mana are all nice to have. Pre-Loreweave any rare or generically strong chest like Belly of the Beast or Carcass Jack are fine. If going all in on damage consider getting a Shaper chest piece with Spell Crit.

Stats to look for (if you're using a rare): Shaper Spell Crit > Life > Resists
Weapon/Shields
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Rare. Daggers/swords are great for the crit related implicits and the ability to use Shield Charge or Whirling Blades. Wands can be fine as well with a shield but I strongly recommend not dual-wielding wands so you can use Shield Charge for survivability in the late game.

Stats to look for (if you're using a rare): Life (if shield) > Gain Lightning as Chaos > Global Lightning Skills > Global Critical Multiplier > Crit with Spells > Spell Damage > Attack Speed (if weapon) Resist (if shield)
Gloves
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Rare. Of Reflection Enchant creates a mirror image that can prove useful for survivability but is in no way required. The spell damage implicit of Fingerless Silk gloves are also nice to have. Insanity Essence crafting should be mentioned for absolute min/maxing for more attack/cast speed on your movement ability. Some great corruptions include % spell crit (applied to the base of the spell!) and %life.

Stats to look for (if you're using a rare): Life > Resists > Mana > Attack Speed
Belt
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Rare. Stygian Vise is best in slot if you can get a good Abyss Jewel (more on this in the Jewel section below). The best endgame belt probably involves crafting with a Metallic + Prismatic + Pristine and getting Generic Increased Lightning, Elemental (not with attacks - from prismatic fossil), and high life/resist rolls. I'm also a big fan of flask related rolls since resists can be grabbed on other pieces of gear and flask mods only appear on belts. Doryani's Invitation and Cyclopean Coil can be fine if you want to take a look at some of the unique effects they provide.

Stats to look for (if you're using a rare): Life > Resists > Increased Flask Effect Duration/Increased Flask Charges Gained
Boots
Spoiler
Rare. 30 movespeed life and resists. Kaom's Roots are my personal favorite boots for the build but it comes at losing 4 gem sockets and movespeed and resists. Using Kaom's also basically forces you to use Whirling Blades often because the lack of movespeed is quite noticeable. For a lot of players I just recommend using good rares. If you want a unique that you can swap out for Kaoms take a look at Bubonic Trails (since this provides no resist will make for convenient swapping.

Stats to look for (if you're using a rare): Movespeed > Life > Resists

NOTE: Any life/mana related enchants are nice to have.
Amulet
Spoiler
Rare. Great place to grab some offensive things like crit/multi since armor can't roll those things. Some uniques that are interesting with the build: Choir of Storms, Solstice Vigil, and Aul's Uprising.

Stats to look for (if you're using a rare): Lightning Damage Leech > Life > Resist > Crit/Multi
Rings
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Rares. Essence Worm with Wrath is great for effective life. One of the best uniques to get the build rolling in the late game. For rares you want life and resists.

Stats to look for (if you're using a rare): Life > Resists > Crit
Flasks
Spoiler
  • Atziri's Promise. One of the best DPS flasks in the game and gives life leech.
  • Diamond. A staple for most crit based builds. Crits being "lucky" effectively rolls your crit chance twice.
  • Onslaught. Attack and Cast Speed is great for our build.
  • Wise Oak/Vinktar's/Sulfur Wise Oak damage penetration is not important but the defense is great. Vinktars is another form of leech with the build and a nice boost to flat damage if you can remove the shock. Sulfur is great for long duration flask that gives a little increased damage but can be used for long curse removal in maps.

Look for Increased Duration and removal of Bleed/Freeze/Curse.

Jewels
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Rares. The only unique Jewel worth considering is Clear Mind (if Essence Worm)but honestly rare jewels offer better value when trying to min/max. For the ultra rich there exists the Watcher's Eye Prismatic Jewel which can give bonuses based on the aura you're using.

Stats to look for on Rare Jewels: Life, Crit Multi, Crit Chance, and Attack/Cast Speed.
Stats to look for on Abyss Jewels: Life, Crit Multi, Crit Chance, and Damage to Spells.

NOTE: Remember there are a few ways to search for Multi:
  • Global Critical Strike Multiplier, Critical Strike Multiplier with Spells, Critical Strike Multiplier with Elemental Skills, Critical Strike Multiplier with Lightning Skills, Critical Strike Multiplier while Dual Wielding

NOTE: Below is a list of sample gear I used along with what content I was able to do with that gear. These gear choices are not always optimal. As a content creator I will try things out if they are new or different or just for variety sake. Use these gear snapshots as possible inspiration and not as an end-all-be-all for gear choices. The above In Depth Gear Explanation has my recommendations for new players trying the guide.

3.5 Deathless Uber Elder
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3.6 Day 3 Uber Elder Kill
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3.6 Deathless Uber Elder and Cortex
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3.7 Deathless Uber Elder and 5 Legion Encounter
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3. Gems and Links
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Storm Brand
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Storm Brand - Faster Casting - Added Lightning - Increased Crit Chance - Controlled Destruction - Chain/Added Cold

*NOTE: Consider Increased Crit Damage, Empower, Elemental Focus - Intermediate players consider using Path of Building if you're starting to wonder what's more damage for your particular setup. Each player will have a different amount of crit chance, crit multi, spell damage, etc. This tool is a calculator for your DPS and it will tell you which links are the best.
Brand Recall
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Brand Recall - Arcane Surge - Empower - Enhance

The more levels into Brand Recall the faster and more potent it is. The empower and enhance are just luxuries and are in no way required. I cast this often to keep up Arcane Surge. Remember not to overlevel your Arcane Surge
Auras
Spoiler
Wrath. It's a more multiplier for damage.

Heralds/Aspects/Arctic Armor/Curse-Blasphemy. Pre-Mind-Over-Matter you can consider using Heralds but I dislike using these at the cost of effective health later in the game. Wrath is really all you need.
Utility
Spoiler
Cast When Damage Taken – Immortal Call
  • Don’t overlevel your gems. You need to keep these gems relatively low level because we want CWDT to proc at a lower life threshold. By keeping it low – it also limits what level of spell it can cast. Personally, I keep CWDT at level 1.

Whirling Blades/Shield Charge – FortifyFaster Attacks – Blood Magic – Culling Strike
  • Try them both out and see which you like better.
  • Shield Charge:
    • Larger hit box to get Fortify on safely.
    • It scales off of movement speed AND global attack speed so the playstyle of hitting Quicksilver Flask between packs is nice.
  • Whirling Blades:
    • You get to use two daggers/swords which will be a huge boon to offensive stats.
    • Whirling Blades can be cast whether or not you click in range. (Shield Charge will by default walk your character to the range that is necessary to perform the Shield Charge. Attack in Place is a workaround to this issue).
    • Scales only off attack speed but you do get a bonus to attack speed when you dual wield.

Flame Dash/Lighting Warp/Frostblink
  • Try them all out and see which you like better.
  • It's just something to get over walls with. If extra links then Faster Casting is nice quality of life (also Less Duration and Swift Affliction for Lightning Warp).

Lightning Golem
  • Gives attack and movespeed if you can afford to get the links.
  • Can be annoying to recast and keep up so try having a high level Cast When Damage Taken. Culling Strike, Blind, and/or Increased Item Rarity are good ways to get more value from your golem.

Decoy Totem - Multiple Totems Support
  • Great utility totem used on all types of characters. Enemies that are taunted do 10% less damage to targets that did not taunt them. The Shaman's Dominion node in the tree gives you global crit chance if you've summoned a totem recently. Although Runebinder lowers your totem limit, if you link Decoy with Multiple Totems Support you can still cast one!
Other Nice to Haves
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Lightning Spire Trap - Increased Area of Effect - Controlled Destruction - Trap and Mine Damage
  • This is a great way to supplement your single target damage.

Vaal Haste
  • For all the speed demons.

Vaal Grace
  • Great all around Defensive buff in sticky situations.

Enduring Cry
  • Life/Mana regeneration on command as well as a bonus for Endurance Charges which are useful! (Damage reduction and increased Immortal Call Duration).

Quality Priority
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Storm Brand > Damage Supports (All give .5% increase) > Increased Crit Strikes
4. Bandits + Ascendancy + Pantheon
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Bandit:
  • Help Alira. Kill them All is an alternative if you don't need resists and the 2 skill points help your build more.

Ascendancy:
  • Righteous Providence
  • Inevitable Judgement
  • Instruments of Virtue
  • Augury of Penitence

Alternatives: Grab Instruments first if you're more experienced and can benefit from the cast/movespeed while leveling.

Pantheon:
  • Major God – Soul of the Brine King if without Kaoms Roots. Soul of Solaris if you have them.
  • Minor God – Gruthkul for mapping Yugul for Uber Elder
5. Leveling + Skill Trees
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The below is a comprehensive act-by-act breakdown intended to introduce players off of a fresh install into the game. If you are an experienced player consider just looking at the target trees and skipping the in-depth breakdown. The target trees are not to be strictly followed, in fact there are more points in the target tree in case you are ahead of schedule on levels/passives.

If this isn't your first character here are some recommended uniques that will make the leveling process easier (Remember this is SSF and League Start viable so none of these are required at all): Lifesprig, Goldrim, Tabula, Wanderlust, Axiom Perpetuum, String of Servitude (all resist), Le Heup of All, and buying skill/support gems with quality ready to be socketed in!

General Leveling Tips-
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  • When in doubt. Life it out. There's an in-general rule of about 300 life per act that I try and follow to see if I'm "tanky enough" to do lab, boss, etc.
  • The game is balanced around having max (75) of each resistance at all points in the game. If you are getting one shot and you don't know why - this is the reason.
  • Gearing is as simple as picking up some life and resists. I'll mention where to get the powerful 2 resist recipes while leveling. If you're in softcore I don't mind being stingy with upgrades. I like saving currency for maps so I'll use essences as a free Orb of Alchemy.
  • Coloring gear is easy based on what the stat requirements of the item is. An item that requires more int is more inclined to have blue sockets. Dexterity Green. Strength Red. Getting colors not of the stat are considered "off color". This guide wants a ton of blue sockets and a couple red.
  • In general with Storm Brand it is really easy to overlevel because killing an entire pack is as easy as just dropping a Brand or two and running through. With a good loot filter you can keep running to the map objective while killing.
  • Speaking of filters, I recommend getting Neversink's latest filter, I use Semi-Strict or Strict while leveling.
  • I don't pick up Scrolls of Wisdom. You can vendor Orbs of Transmutation or Blacksmith Whetstones for Scrolls of Wisdom.
  • Rememeber the guide is just a guideline - consider taking more defense (Mind Over Matter) earlier if in Hardcore. Elemental Overload/Lightning Spire Trap if more experienced. This guide is aimed at newer players at a league start.
Act 1- Target Tree
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  • Buy Freezing Pulse from Neesa
  • Equip 2 wands or 2 scepters as soon as you can (for spell damage or elemental damage implicits. Buy a 3 link Blue-Blue-Blue if available. Also check the vendor for Movespeed boots. Keep a lookout for Blue Gems on Gloves/Helm as well to later socket in Flame Dash
  • Useful Tip - the vendors will reset their inventory after you level up!
  • Another tip for early levels is to not use a Body Armor for a little more movement speed. Body Armors have a hidden implicit of reduced movement speed!
  • Grab The Coast Waypoint and head to the Optional Tidal Island Quest to get a Quicksilver Flask - use this flask often! Turn in quest for Onslaught Support and buy a level 1 Arcane Surge (you'll be keeping this level 1. To do this - Right Click it instead of Left Clicking it when the gem appears on the side).
  • Look out for a Blue-Blue-Blue 3 Linked Wand or Scepter (note you cant use 1 wand and 1 scepter) You can swap weapons by pressing X (I like to have one weapon setup with wands and one with scepters - you can use your spare blue sockets to level other gems!)
  • Go to the Submerged Passage and kill the Deep Dweller for a Skill Point. (grab Frost Bomb as your quest reward)
  • Link Freezing Pulse with Added Lightning and Arcane Surge as soon as you can. (If have Blue-Blue-Green instead of Blue-Blue-Blue then put Onslaught instead of Arcane Surge)
  • Advanced Players consider Frost Bomb with Onslaught and Arcane Surge for supplemental damage.
  • Craft a +1 Lightning Gems Wand/Scepter if you have a Blue-Blue-Blue magical wand or scepter (Wand/Scepter with a Topaz Ring and an Orb of Alteration) - (Topaz Ring is Iron Ring + Green Gem)https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Vendor_recipe_system#Crafting
  • Make sure you do your Trial of Ascendancy in the Lower Prison.
  • Kill Brutus and grab Flame Dash. After you equip Flame Dash click on it in your bar and select the checkbox for "Always Attack Without Moving". Link Flame Dash with Arcane Surge if possible.
  • Grab the waypoint in the Ship Graveyard and find the All Flame and return it to Fairgraves there.
  • Grab Storm Brand. Put it in your +1 Lightning Gems Scepter with Added Lightning and Arcane Surge
  • You'll be using Storm Brand for the rest of the game. This ability is strong enough to kill most packs with 1 or 2 casts. If you're interested in the mechanics of Storm Brand head to the 6. Tips and Tricks section to learn more.
  • Consider upgrading to the highest life/mana flasks from Nessa. Kill the Act Boss
Act 2- Target Tree
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  • Keep a lookout for gear with Dexterity (generally an amulet) and still look for more Blue sockets.
  • Head right to the Old Fields and then to the Den to get your second Quicksilver Flask.
  • Keep heading right and Kill Kraityn.
  • Back to the Crossroads and head down to get the next Trial of Ascendancy in The Crypt Level 1.
  • Head left from town into The Riverways grab the waypoint and head up into The Wetlands.
  • Kill Oak and grab the waypoint in the Wetlands. Go back to the Riverways and head left to the Western Forest. 3 quests to do here 1) Help Alira 2) The Way Forward (Thaumetic Emblem/Seal) 3) Weavers Chambers.
  • After killing the weaver get Faster Casting. Your Brand setup (in the +1 Lightning weapon should be Storm Brand - Faster Casting - Added Lightning)
  • Somewhere else have Flame Dash + Arcane Surge
  • Head back to the Crossroads after doing all 3 quests in the Western Forest and head north.
  • Make sure you do your Trial of Ascendancy in the Chamber of Sins Level 2. Keep going and grab Brand Recall which you can now link to Arcane Surge instead of Flame Dash (still keep flame dash around for mobility though!). Also buy Herald of Thunder and Herald of Ice if you can afford it for extra damage.
  • If you're interested in the mechanics of Brand Recall head to the 6. Tips and Tricks section to learn more.
  • Head back to the Wetlands and open the entrance to the Vaal Ruins. Run through the Vaal Ruins and the Northern Forest to The Caverns (don't enter the Dread Thicket!). Run through The Caverns.
  • Consider upgrading to the highest life/mana flasks from Yeena. Kill the boss and make sure to grab the spell damage recipe in the room to the left.
Act 3- Target Tree
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  • In act 3 look out for a 4-link that's Blue-Blue-Blue-Blue. If you get a 4 link it should be Storm Brand - Faster Casting - Added Lighting - Controlled Destruction. If you get a Green Link, consider Onslaught over Controlled Destruction. At that point also drop your wand or scepter setup for a shield/dagger for Shield Charge or dagger/dagger for Whirling Blades. In Act 2 you can purchase Faster Attacks.
  • Head out of the sewers and hug the sides to enter to Crematorium. Make sure you do your Trial of Ascendancy here. Kill Piety and head back to town.
  • Grab Conductivity Equip this to Arcane Surge instead of Brand Recall for now. Cast Conductivity when you need the extra burst of damage. Also Grab Wrath and replace Herald of Ice.
  • Grab the Keys from Clarissa and head to the Sewers. Grab the 3 Platinum Busts in the Sewer.
  • Run through The Marketplace and head to The Catacombs for your 5th Trial of Ascendancy.
  • After the trial head back to the marketplace and run through to the battlefront. Find the waypoint, head to the left of the waypoint to grab the quest item and head north to the docks.
  • At the docks there are two things to do: 1) Find the Sulphite 2) Talk to Fairgraves and grab the waypoint.
  • Head back to the battlefront. Head north again but to the east of the docks to get to the Solaris Temple.
  • Run through Solaris and talk to Dalia. Turn in your quests - grab the dex Amulet reward if you need the dex.
  • Head to the sewer and run to the left. Run through the ebony Barracks to the northwest. Kill Gravicious and head west to the Lunaris Temple.
  • Run through the Lunaris Temple level 2 and kill Piety for the Tower Key. The gem you get from Maroma does not matter.
  • Back to The Ebony Barracks and head east to the Imperial Gardens. Grab the waypoint head to the north west and do your last Trial of Ascendancy there!
  • Do your Lab. Update your flasks to the highest you can equip. Consider rolling a bleed removal flask. Ascend into Inquisitor.
  • Head back to the Imperial Gardens and go east to the Upper Scepter of God. Kill Dominus and proceed to act 4
Act 4 - Target Tree
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  • Enter the town and go left to the Dried Lake. Kill Voll (and get the attack/cast speed crafting recipe) and head to the mine after.
  • Consider doing your first Delve after hitting sulphite to get the 2-3 Socket Recipe from the first Delve Node
  • in the mines level 2 take the extra time to find the Deshrets Spirit for a Skill Point before heading to the next level, Keep an eye out for any Blue-Blue-Blue-Blue items or heavy int based items that you can use a chrome on to get 4 blue links. (Items which require more Intelligence are predisposed to getting Blue sockets. Dexterity Green. Strength Red.
  • In the Crystal Veins grab the waypoint and go do either of the side areas. talk to Oyun and grab a Lightning Golem.
  • Head back to the Crystal Veins and head to the two side areas to kill the respective bosses of the area and grab the quest items from them.
  • Make your way through the Belly of the Beast and kill Piety. Kill all the mini bosses and harvest their organs. This is a good time to practice casting Conductivity and Brand Recall in your rotation to see how it affects your single target.
  • Before the boss fight - update your flasks, turn in quest rewards. It doesn't matter what skill gem you grab but I like Increased Area of Effect for your curse.
  • Kill Malachai and proceed to Act 5
Act 5 - Target Tree
Spoiler
  • After this act you'll be losing 30 resist.
  • Run through the Slave Pens (hugging the left) and kill the overseer to head into the Overseer's Tower.
  • Head through the Control Blocks and grab the Miasmeter on the way to Oriath Square (red X's on the ground let you know you're heading the right direction.
  • Run north east/east to the Templar Courts return to town to get an Onslaught Flask (I replace 1 quicksilver and press both Onslaught and Quicksilver together for more movement speed). Head back to Templar Courts and run in a clockwise circle to The Chamber of Innocence.
  • Run in a counter clockwise circle to kill the boss (grab the movement speed recipe on the way).
  • Head back through the Torched Courts after the fight to the Ruined Square. Here grab the Reliquary items to the south of the Square and the Sign of Purity in The Ossuary.
  • Head to town - update your flasks turn in your quest rewards (nothing important other than skill points). Head to The Cathedral Rooftop to kill Kitava. You will suffer a permanent -30 resist penalty. Consider crafting better gear with essences or using the crafting bench where you have open suffixes. This is a good time to learn about Item Affixes and what a Prefix vs Suffix is: https://pathofexile.gamepedia.com/Item_affix
Act 6 - Target Tree
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  • Head to the left in town and clear the Twilight Strand. This will allow you to buy any skill gem from Lily!
  • At this point I buy Cast When Damage Taken - Immortal Call and Increased Crit Strikes Support (in SSF I LOVE Increased Item Rarity support)
  • If you have a Red-Red then link Cast When Damage Taken and Immortal Call together. Leave them low level (explanation of why in 3. Gems and Links)
  • Run through The Coast and head to the Mud Flats (there's an Optional quest in the Tidal Island if you're looking for an amulet or belt upgrade).
  • In the Mud Flats kill the Queen to the east and head to the Karui Fortress in the North.
  • Kill Tukohama and talk to Sin to grab your first Pantheon Power.
  • Head to the Ridge, run through to the Lower Prison and begin your next set of Trial of Ascendancy (grab the double resistances recipe!)
  • Head up through the tower and kill the boss. Grab your quest reward and consider a 4 link that you might need.
  • Head to the Prisoner's Gate and kill Abberath for a Skill Point. Head into the Western Forest and The Riverways and get the waypoint there. Head north to kill The Puppet Mistress for a Skill Point (I like talking to Sin after this fight to switch into Soul of Ryslatha Pantheon). Head back to The Riverways and head east to the Southern Forest.
  • Run through the Cavern of Anger. Head to the Beacon (grab the life and mana crafting recipe there) throw the flag into the lit Beacon and head to The Brine King's Reef.
  • As usual - head to town and upgrade your flasks. Having capped cold resistance for this fight is nice. Talk to Sin after killing the Brine King for your first Major Pantheon.
Act 7 - Target Tree
Spoiler
  • Head into the Broken Bridge and do the Optional Silver Locket quest to grab a Diamond Flask. I replace one of my Life Flasks with the Diamond Flask.
  • Diamond Flasks make your Crit Chance Lucky
  • Grab the waypoint in the Crossroads. Head south to the Fellshine Ruins and do your Trial of Ascendancy in the Crypt. Afterwards grab Maligaro's Map.
  • Head back to the Crossroads and head north into the Chamber of Sins. In the Chamber of Sin's place the map into the Map Device and enter Maligaro's Sanctum. Kill Maligaro and head to the Chamber of Sins Level 2. Do your Trial of Ascendancy here.
  • After this Trial you now have the ability to do your Cruel Lab.
  • After running through the Chamber of Sins and The Den. Go west in The Ashen Fields to kill Greust.
  • In the Northern Forest there are many quests to do 1) Head into the Dread Thicket and kill Gruthkul. 2) Also while in the Dread Thicket, collect the fireflies. 3) Optional In Memory of Greust quest for an amulet (it's on the way, and is a free rare amulet - I always do this one)
  • Head to the Causeway run through and grab the Kishara's Star for a Skill Point and then enter Vaal City. Upgrade your flasks. Run through to the act boss and kill Arakaali for access to Act 8.
Act 8 - Target Tree
Spoiler
  • I do my Cruel Lab immediately upon entering Act 8. In this lab you'll get rank 2 double resistances.
  • Head back to town - head to the left and make your way through the sewers to Doedre's Cesspool. Kill Doedre and grab the waypoint and Level 3 resistances recipe outside.
  • You can technically do either of the sides first - I like doing Solar before Lunar (head right from the waypoint).
  • In the Quay hug the edges to look for a skinny bridge to pick up the Ankh of Eternity. Help Clarissa with the Ankh for a Skill Point. Grab the Grain Gate waypoint if you see it before you meet Clarissa.
  • In the Grain Gate kill the Gemling Legion for a Skill Point (if you get lost in the Grain Gate follow the doors with dead bodies in front of them) and proceed to the Imperial Fields. Run through the fields and the Solaris Temple. If you see a door for Solaris Concourse do not take it. Head to the Solaris Temple Level 2 and kill the boss for the Sun Orb.
  • Head back to the Toxic Conduits and go left this time. Run through the Grand Promenade and head to The Bath House. There three things to do in here 1) Optional Wings of Vastiri (he sits in the middle of the map so you'll end up doing him anyway. 2) Trial of Ascendancy (also grab the flask duration recipe inside) 3) The High Gardens for a Skill Point Quest.
  • Proceed to the Lunaris Concourse and grab the waypoint. Head north of the waypoint to the Lunaris Temple and proceed to Level 2 and kill the boss for the Moon Orb.
  • Head back to the Lunaris Concourse waypoint and head south to the Harbor Bridge. Kill the Act bosses and Proceed to Act 9.
Act 9 - Target Tree
Spoiler
  • Blood Aquaducts is a very popular farming location because of Humility Divination Cards. Consider staying here and leveling for a while and gearing up. It's also a level 60+ Zone for those doing the Chaos Recipe.
  • Consider switching into using two daggers (craft spell damage on them) and getting Whirling Blades - Faster Attacks - Fortify from Lily in Act 6
  • Check out the 6. Tips and Tricks section to see why I value Fortify so much.
  • Once in Highgate head right into The Decent and progress down into The Vastiri Desert where you'll be looking for the waypoint and the Storm Blade quest. There is an Attack and Cast Speed recipe by the waypoint as well.
  • Turn in the Storm Blade quest to Petarus and Vanja, talk to Sin, and talk to Petarus and Vanja again for the Bottled Cloud. Head back to The Vastiri Desert and head North East into the Oasis for another Skill Point Quest.
  • Head to the north west of The Vastiri Desert for The Foothills - grab the waypoint there. Head east of the waypoint for The Basilisk Acid (make sure to grab the Spell Damage level 3 behind the boss!)
  • Go back to The Foothills waypoint head west for The Tunnel. Do your Trial of Ascendancy (and grab the All Attributes rank 2 recipe). Proceed to The Quarry and grab the waypoint. Hug the sides to find the Trarthan Powder (The Refinery) and Save Oyun from Kira (Shrine of the Winds).
  • Head back to The Quarry. Talk to Sin and proceed to The Belly of the Beast. Run through The Belly The Rotting Core and Kill all three bosses, Kill the final act boss and Proceed to Act 10.
  • Note that you can remove conductivity after you have completed your Inevitable Judgment Ascendancy
Act 10 - Target Tree
Spoiler
  • Head to the rooftop to Rescue Bannon. Head East in the Rooftop hugging the sides to get to The Ravaged Square. Hug the wall along the west to head into the Control Blocks and kill Vilenta for a Skill Point.
  • Head back to the Control Blocks waypoint but head out to the Ravaged Square and proceed north east to hit the waypoint. Head into the Ossuary for your Trial of Ascendancy. You can now do your Merciless Lab.
  • In Merciless Lab you get rank 3 double resistances!
  • Head east of The Ravaged Square waypoint to The Desecrated Chambers and kill Avarius.
  • Kill Kitava (you will suffer a permanent -30 resist penalty after this fight)
  • Head to the North in the Epilogue to get the Movement Speed rank 3 craft.
  • Check to see if you missed any passive points by typing /passives
  • Head into the Templar Laboratory to the east and grab maps from Zana - Welcome to the Endgame!
Endgame and Beyond - Final Skill Tree
Spoiler
  • Begin progressing through maps tier by tier. Buy maps that you don't have if you're in a trade league.
  • I like picking up Mind over Matter and Phase Acrobatics to get defense as soon as possible.
  • Begin getting upgrades for your gear.
Last edited by thi3n on Sep 4, 2019, 8:35:53 PM
Last bumped on Oct 21, 2019, 11:09:02 AM
6. Tips and Tricks
Spoiler
Mechanics of Storm Brand and Brand Recall
  • Storm Brand - Creates a magical brand which can attach to a nearby enemy. It periodically activates while attached, firing beams which deal damage to nearby enemies and those around them. The brand will detach if the enemy dies.
    • Storm Brand will reattach after it's done killing the target it's attached to.
    • The Area of Effect of the pulsing damage is actually quite high.
    • Cast Speed not only helps with the placement speed but the activation frequency as well.
  • Brand Recall - Recall your brands to you, detaching them from enemies, then cause them to activate. The brands will have increased attachment range until they next attach to an enemy.
    • Brand Recall pulls all the brands back to you and they refresh the duration.
    • With a high enough level Brand Recall - you can simply just cast Brand Recall throughout a map without having to recast Brands.
    • Area of Effect does not help Brand Recall - attachment range is it's own stat that is used for the purpose of the Brands bouncing around after killing enemies or being recalled.

Boss Killing
  • Decoy Totem. Awesome for giving a target to a boss to use a big ability on. May be annoying to recast.
  • Lightning Spire Trap. If you're feeling ambitious or you're an advanced player consider getting a Lightning Spire Trap to help with single target damage. Storm Brand by itself is enough to do everything in the game but LST helps on as little as a 4-Link

Instruments of Virtue
  • Casting often will not be difficult as it's how you do damage. It's natural.
  • What might not be natural is weaving in "attacks" every so often to get the benefit of instruments. This is a great habit to get into even if you move away from Inquisitor. There are several reasons to weave in attacks but the main reason is to get Fortify. More explanation below!

Movement Abilities
  • Link your movement ability to Blood Magic! Mind over Matter is a great defensive Keystone but sometimes it can work against you. Getting all your mana drained when you're in a sticky situation can spell death if you can't get out. Blood Magic allows us to move and proc Fortify in the stickiest of situations.
  • While mapping, try and proc your fortify by using your movement ability on mobs on the outside of density. Not only is it great to keep moving (dodge projectiles) but gaining Fortify can mitigate the damage that you do take!
  • Conversely, don't always feel like you need to have Fortify up! Better than taking reduced damage is taking no damage. Use movement abilities first and foremost to dodge heavy damage!
  • Turn on your Always Attack Without Moving. This is great for using your Shield Charge when you want to (Whirling Blades already does this). Instead of your character running to the location needed by default it will immediately cast Shield Charge in the direction of your mouse.

Flat Fire Damage?
  • The Righteous Providence ascendancy node wants you to apply ailments in order to get more multi. If you cannot apply ailments (elemental focus or not enough cold/lightning damage to apply chill/shock) then you will not benefit from this.
  • Fire damage is unique in the sense that there is no minimum threshold for damage to apply an ignite. Any amount of fire damage when you crit will apply an ignite and your enemy will count as inflicted with an ailment for the purpose of Righteous Provdence for a juicy +45% Crit Multi!

Decoy Totem - Multiple Totem Support
  • Because of Runebinder players typically overlook totems due to the "-1 to maximum number of Summoned Totems" but this can be overcome! Multiple Totem Support actually allows you to bypass this restriction and lets you put a Decoy Totem down!
  • On top of the defensive benefits that Decoy Totem provides our build actually uses a the Shaman's Dominion node which we pick up for Brand Crit/Multi but actually has an overlooked line of text which reads "100% increased Global Critical Strike Chance if you've Summoned a Totem Recently." Placing a Decoy totem is not only a defensive boost but an offensive one as well!
7. Questions I've Answered
Spoiler
What about X Item? What About Y Support? What about Z Ascendancy?
Spoiler
I always encourage people to make the build their own. All of my guides are just that, guidelines. Take what is useful and apply your own ideas and create ways to make it work for your situation.
Why is your PoB different?
Spoiler
The PoB link has the latest time I've played the build. However, I play the build so much that I mix things up to just to do it. The main reason I try out different things is really to hammer home a point I made throughout the guide: Don't be afraid to try things and make the build your own!
What do I upgrade next?
Spoiler
This is a tough question that will be very individual for each person. In general it depends on what you're lacking. Damage? More links then more offensive stats. Getting one shot? Make sure you have capped elemental resistances and get more life/mana/energyshield (whichever stat(s) the build is using). Also make sure not to overlook any defensive mechanics that the build is recommending (Block/Acro/MoM/Fortify). Make sure you go into the 2. Gear section to see my stat recommendations on each piece of gear.
Lightning Spire Trap
Spoiler
It's good. Advanced players should probably work this in to their links when leveling. Similar to how Vaal Double Strike is a bossing link for melee Lightning Spire Trap is that for casters. I don't mention it throughout the leveling section or the guide because I wanted this to be straightforward and easy-on-the-links.
Hypothermia
Spoiler
Any amount of cold damage crit will apply a chill if you are an Elementalist - Inquisitors do not enjoy this benefit. You can still chill if you do enough cold damage via Added Cold or other sources. Check out the Wiki on how to apply a Chill
Elemental Overload
Spoiler
Actually great for leveling at the start before you get crit and multi rolling. It's not required at all while leveling and again to make this beginner friendly I wanted exactly zero respec points used.
Elementalist/Hierophant/Ascendant
Spoiler
Great choices for Storm Brand. I do encourage people to try out different versions of the build. Currently here is my take on the difference between them.

Inquisitor - Gets to not care about damage pen in both links and gear. Huge amounts of attack and cast speed quality of life. Overall my favorite Ascendancy for newer players.

Hierophant - Additional Brand and charge uptime are great. The choice between Mind over Matter effectiveness or a or Huge ES boost for Low Life variants seems great too. Arcane Surge Ailment Immunity could allow for some heavy unique flask usage as well.

Ascendant - If you haven't played with Slayer Leech before you should probably try it at some point. Combined with quality of life of flasks (pathfinder) or reflect immunity (elementalist) seems like a great endgame choice.

Elementalist - Some great options in this Ascendancy. 15% min base shock effectiveness with Beacon is huge. Easy Life Leech. Huge Herald pen and AoE/Damage. It's a really awesome Ascendancy not just for brands but for anything elemental.
8. Thank you + Other Guides
Spoiler
  • Thank YOU for reading! I appreciate the success stories in the thread.
  • Special shoutout to all the people who drop by and hangout on Twitch as well as my Followers/Subs!

Other Guides
Last edited by thi3n on Jun 14, 2019, 2:13:34 PM
Pog
could include something about the bust locations for a3 if you wanted to be squeeze the juice in terms of detail
Heya Thi3n! Congrats on the Ziz Shaper race win. I was just wondering is this the build you used? I'm excited to give storm brand a whirl before league end for SSFHC. Thanks!
"
Heya Thi3n! Congrats on the Ziz Shaper race win. I was just wondering is this the build you used? I'm excited to give storm brand a whirl before league end for SSFHC. Thanks!
That actually wasn't me it was tie23he - I did participate in the race but only played for 5 hours before I went to bed. When I woke up it was over. However I did make it to act 8 and it was my first time ever playing Hardcore. I did use this guide for it!
"
thi3n wrote:
"
Heya Thi3n! Congrats on the Ziz Shaper race win. I was just wondering is this the build you used? I'm excited to give storm brand a whirl before league end for SSFHC. Thanks!
That actually wasn't me it was tie23he - I did participate in the race but only played for 5 hours before I went to bed. When I woke up it was over. However I did make it to act 8 and it was my first time ever playing Hardcore. I did use this guide for it!


Doh! Sorry Thi3n. I'll definitely have to give it a shot!
Pog
Reserved 3.6! Hopefully no incoming nerfs.
Trying this build in SSF. Leveling speed is just absurd, no way SB is gonna be left untouched by nerfs

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