[3.8] Cheap Tanky Non-Crit Arc Inquisitor | All Content | Great League Starter

First created in 2.2. I've returned to PoE for 3.8 and after testing the build as my league starter, overhauled the guide significantly.

This build takes advantage of many different damage bonuses that combine together to create solid damage output without needing crit or damage conversion. For defense we focus on a high effective life pool with a lot of regeneration / leech, along with MoM. Our ascendancy adds clear speed through both movement and damage, along with significant defenses including nearly permanent immunity to all status ailments.

My 3.8 iteration of this character has been geared up for under 1ex, and is all content capable.

  • Cheap - Our uniques are all optional & cheap, and there's a ton of gearing flexibility. My current gear cost ~1ex.
  • All Content Viable - Everything up to and including Shaper was pretty easy. Uber Elder is possible, but difficult enough that I wouldn't recommend this build to farm him.
  • Easy Leveling - Arc is fantastic for leveling, and you don't really need to hit any checkpoints to be effective. Expect smooth sailing and scaling all the way into red maps, including Kitava and all Labs.
  • Tanky - The loss of warlord's mark this patch hurts us, but we're still quite tanky. The build is incredibly safe and forgiving throughout progression. Once you're at T14+ maps with scary mods there is some threat, but understanding the build's capabilities will allow you to do it all safely anyways.

  • Endgame Scaling - It's both expensive and ineffective to scale this build past its natural progression curve due to not using crit or damage conversion. The DPS results you'd get from heavy currency investment aren't really worth it in my opinion. If you want to spend 10ex on a weapon, you're better off doing it with a different build.
  • Ineffective When Forced to Run - This build relies heavily on being able to stop and cast near the target. If a piece of content forces us to run for extended periods of time, both our offense and defense is severely impacted.

Build Explanation:
Our damage comes from a highly increased cast speed Arc, supported by a large amount of increased damage along with several more multipliers such as the Elemental Overload keystone. We also take advantage of many different smaller sources of damage that ramp up quickly and reliably when clearing maps. Although we lose many of those bonuses in certain boss situations when no other monsters are around, we still have excellent single target damage which is further boosted by Vaal Haste and Vaal Righteous Fire.

With my current gear (~1ex budget) Path of Building shows map clearing DPS around 3 million, and Shaper DPS with no shock, innervate, or curses of just under 1 million. There's room to push those numbers further if you want to start spending more.

We use a fairly large life pool combined with a large mana pool and Mind Over Matter to reach over 7k effective life. On top of that, we rely on life regeneration/leech and mana regen/flask for very high sustain. Chaos degen effects can mostly all be ignored even without chaos res on gear. We also have Fortify and decent armour for physical mitigation, increased further by flasks. Our Ascendancy also gives us immunity to all status ailments through consecrated ground, which is applied to us pretty much all the time. Lastly, we automatically apply blind to everything on screen while fighting.

The general flow you'll get into is Shield Charge into the middle of a pack, drop Orb of Storms, mash flasks, and start arcing. You can usually get away with only popping flasks every few packs, but try to get into the rhythm of dropping Orb every time you stop to cast. Shield Charging procs Instruments of Virtue and Fortify, so be sure to periodically use it even if you don't need to move. It's very beneficial both offensively and defensively to be close to high health or dangerous targets in order to get them within range for Singularity hinder aura, Augury of Penitence, Consecrated Ground, and Orb of Storms. Most content can be safely facetanked.

Path of Building:
These PoBs are just direct imports of my character with 2 different configs. You may notice I've added some stats to my weapon; this is to account for Arcane Capacitor which isn't implemented.

Map Clearing: https://pastebin.com/D3sdjwE4 (everything active, non-boss target)
Shaper: https://pastebin.com/aFe81eNA (no shock, innervate, or curses, Shaper target)

Disclaimer: There videos were the first time I've attempted this content on any character (excluding Izaro), please excuse any panicked flailing!

Uber Izaro
Red Elder

Slot Recommendation: Body Armour

Your main attack skill. Gems have been listed in order of importance, but due to level requirements you'll need to add them in a slightly different order as you progress. The first thing we want to do is scale up the cast speed as high as possible with Spell Echo and Arcane Surge, the latter of which also gives you some mana regeneration that helps out for early leveling. The remaining links are pure damage.

Orb of Storms
Slot Recommendation: Boots or Gloves

Orb of Storms is incredible. In this build it serves the dual purposes of buffing our main attack skill and defending us against attacks, while still outputting respectable damage of its own. When you are casting Arc inside it, Orb of Storms with Inc AoE almost instantly tags everything on your screen, which with Blind means that almost everything you fight will be Blinded nearly 100% of the time after you begin attacking. In addition, since we are such a fast attacking build, Orb of Storms crits constantly with just its base crit chance, and reliably gets killing blows during map clearing. This provides us with constant uptime of Elemental Overload and Innervate, though the latter won't proc in boss fights that don't have non-boss monsters.

HoT Cursing
Slot Recommendation: Boots or Gloves

Nothing exciting here, just applying dual damage curses through Herald of Thunder, which will be active all the time during map clearing.

HC Variation: You may want to swap Elemental Weakness for your choice of Enfeeble or Temp Chains.

CwDT Setup
Slot Recommendation: Helmet

Simple defensive setup plus a Vaal Haste that can take advantage of the Increased Duration. I run with a max level CwDT because the build constantly takes and regenerates a lot of damage. For details on this choice of guard skill, check out the Advanced Topics section at the bottom of the guide. You most likely won't be leveling up Vaal Haste all the way - the benefit is small and not worth the gear investment to get the extra dex. Look at whatever cast speed band you naturally end up and try to get enough dex to run the lowest level in that band. For example, Vaal Haste provides 28% cast speed at levels 11-13, so I use level 11.

Flame Golem
Slot Recommendation: Ring

The main purpose of this golem is to put it in a Malachai's Artifice and proc Elemental Equilibrium.

HC Variation: Run a Stone Golem instead, it adds a significant amount of sustain and can also taunt enemies. Drop Malachai's Artifice for an unset ring with better stats. If you don't want to run an unset ring at all, another option is to move Vaal Righteous Fire to your CwDT setup and replace the Increased Duration that would be attached to your Vaal Haste with the Stone Golem.

Shield Charge
Slot Recommendation: Shield

Shield Charge is the natural movement skill for this build. In combat it gives us a solid survivability buff with Fortify and triggers Instruments of Virtue in our Ascendancy for a significant increase.

Slot Recommendation: Weapon

Helps support the high mana cost of Arc, and increases our MoM sustain. At end-game you don't actually need it for Arc, so you can optionally turn it off or get rid of it entirely if you'd rather have the larger mana buffer to help against one-shots. I personally prefer having it on at all times.

Vaal Righteous Fire
Slot Recommendation: Weapon

More damage boost for bosses; fills out the last gem slots on our Weapon.

Passive Tree:
Check out the PoB links in the section at the start for my character export tree, or the PoB link in the leveling section below for my recommended progression through the tree. If you really don't want to mess with PoB, I've created a version of the tree using GGG's tool, which can be found here.


Major - Lunaris for regular mapping, Solaris for Shaper / Elder
Minor - This choice is based a lot on your particular playstyle and the situation. If you aren't sure, Tukohama is a great starting point.

Most of the gear is rares. You want at least enough dexterity to run Faster Attacks max level, along with max resists. After that, your offensive priorities are cast speed and anything that affects lightning spell damage. For defense, look for Life, Mana, and Armour.

Weapon: I chose to go for a Sceptre so that we can pick up some cast speed and spell damage while still being able to use an attack movement skill to proc Instruments of Virtue and Fortify. The unique Singularity is a very cheap item that hits everything the build looks for - cast speed, flat and % lighting spell damage, and even applies a hindering aura to nearby enemies. This effect is perfect for us since we are jumping right into the middle of packs and on top of bosses anyways. To top things off, Singularity grants a pretty badass aura visual effect!

Shield: Rare shield; this is a good spot to focus specifically on life and armour. Pick up some resists after that if possible.

Chest: Rare chest; you want life and as high armour as possible, but you need to go for an armour/ES chest or else getting your colours for Arc will be nearly impossible. I played with a shitty 5L until mid-80s at which point I picked up a white 6L Saint’s Hauberk and threw a couple greed essences at it. Another option I'd love to try out here is the new Blight unique Sporeguard. If anyone gets their hands on a 6L one of those let me know how it goes!

Helm: The Brine Crown is a great option here - it provides very high armour and life, along with an even larger chunk more armour and some mana regen while stationary, which we always are when casting. A rare helm with health and high armour is also a perfectly fine choice. Ideally we'd want to have the "Arc Chains an additional time" lab enchant, but sadly nobody is going to put on a Brine Crown. You're better off crafting your own rare helm on a base with the enchant if you're really trying to min-max the build.

Gloves: Rare gloves with life, mana, and resists as necessary. Potential spot for some dex.

Boots: Just go for standard rare boots with life, resists, move speed. Max mana if possible. Potential spot for some dex.

Belt: Your main goals here are very high life and armour. You have a lot of gear to get resists on so you probably won’t need amazing resists here - focus on those other things and maybe some flask charge stuff if you are able to. Once you get to the point of spending significant currency on your gear, see if you can craft or buy a stygian vise with good lighting / elemental damage.

Jewelry: First ring is a Malachai's Artifice for your flame golem. For ring 2 and your amulet look for life, resists, cast speed, lightning spell damage in its various forms, and also some dexterity.

Jewels: % life is highest priority, and then grab anything that effects lightning spell damage. I also liked picking up the mod that affects both cast and attack speed since both are useful to us.

Flasks: Atziri's Promise is pretty much a requirement for endgame as it's our main source of leech and also provides good damage. The rest of your flasks can be easily customized to taste, but I'd recommend the following: an enduring mana flask to help sustain when taking big hits, a basalt flask, a silver flask, and a life flask. Suffixes should include Iron Skin, Warding, and Staunching. For my last remaining suffix I chose the new Quickening for 12% cast speed.

My Current Gear:

You can start out leveling with any spell you want, and switching to Arc as soon as it becomes available. I chose to use Smite which worked great.

I've created a PoB with a series of recommended trees to progress through while leveling, which I'll also describe below: https://pastebin.com/Hh4LYFu4. As a note, you're likely going to want to pick up the 30 dex node beside Elemental Overload for some portion of your progression, or even for endgame if your gearset is short on it. This is totally fine.

To use it, import the pastebin and click on the dropdown in the bottom left corner of the Tree frame as shown here -

  • 1: We go straight for Elemental Overload first for a significant damage boost.
  • 2: Head to the left of the tree to pick up a combination of high value life and damage nodes along with grabbing Precision which will help us with Dex early on.
  • 3: Now to the right side of the tree for more life, damage, and a bit of dex. The order of (2) and (3) could be swapped as they both accomplish the same thing.
  • 4: Time to go grab the Life Wheel ato start beefing up as we're going to be facing A10 Kitava and Merc Izaro shortly.
  • 5: Pick up your dual curse and more damage. It's also probably worth it to get MoM around this time. At this point it becomes more efficient to path through the int nodes by Storm Weaver, so get those and drop the int and dex nodes below them.
  • 6 - Complete: Fill in your jewel sockets; if you're planning to sink currency into jewels earlier on then you can get them earlier than this. The remaining points are the last high efficiency damage nodes we have access to, so it's around now that I consider the build complete.
  • 7 - Endgame: It's up to you what you want to prioritize after (6). The jewel slot on the bottom is a good choice. I'd recommend either the Sanctum of Thought or Combat Stamina clusters. I also picked up Righteous Decree which is high value for max mana and therefore effective HP through MoM. There’s also some cast speed and spell damage you can pick up by the witch start if you prefer.

Ascendancy: Sanctuary -> Pious Path -> Instruments of Virtue -> Augury of Penitence.

Map Mods:
The following map mods create huge problems for the build and I'd recommend skipping them:

  • Elemental Reflect - If you REALLY want to be able to do these, I'm sure it's possible with a gear swap involving Sibyl's Lament, and Soul of Yugul on your Pantheon.
  • No Regeneration - Again, not completely impossible but you better be damn good at managing your flasks. It's easier to just roll something else.

Advanced Topics:
Elemental Focus
With the revamped version of this build I've added Elemental Focus as a core gem. This is due to the now fairly old changes to shock causing its effect to scale based on % of the target's health done in damage. Now although we CAN shock Shaper if we ran Lightning Pen instead, the expected value is so tiny that Elemental Focus provides us more damage. Against packs and bosses under T14 or so, Lightning Pen provides more theoretical DPS assuming we have good uptime. However, the cases where we don't have good uptime means the build is struggling against something, and it doesn't make much sense to strengthen the build in scenarios where we're already smashing face at the cost of weakening ourselves against things that give us trouble. Plus it makes things simpler to just not have to worry about swapping around gems based on content. The last thing to consider is that we do need to shock monsters regularly in order to trigger Innervate and Herald of Thunder. Luckily, Orb of Storms on its own takes care of that very reliably.

EHP Value
Our effective HP (EHP) is the combination of life and mana available to absorb a spike of damage. For the sake of our calculations here I'm going to ignore additional mitigation that occurs on top of that pool such as armour and resists. Mana continues to give us value through MoM until our unreserved mana total is greater than Life * 3 / 7. For example, if you have 5000 life, we can continue gaining EHP through mana until reaching 5000 * 3 / 7 = 2143 unreserved mana. For this build, it's unlikely we will ever hit that so make sure to value mana on your gear in relation to life. To calculate the value mana provides we also have to take into account that 25% of each point we gain goes to Herald of Thunder reservation.

To help with this, I've created a google sheet.

Create your own copy of the sheet, then fill in the column on the right labeled "Current" with your current base and % inc life/mana (get these values by importing your char to PoB and looking at the Calcs tab, in the Life and Mana sections). This will populate the "Value" column on the left, which tells you the EHP you'll receive for 1 point in the stat for each row. Next, use the "Amount" column to specify any amount of a stat and it will generate the total EHP, along with the equivalent amount of the other stat you'd need to achieve the same affect. For example, if you specify an Amount in the % Inc Life row, the "Equiv" value on that row will tell you how much % Inc Mana would increase your EHP by the same amount.

When I'm searching for new gear on poe.trade I like to use the weight stat group option and input the "Value" amounts from my sheet for both life and mana, then sort by total weight. This makes it easy to see what combination of life and mana will give me the most EHP.

Arcane Capacitor
Arcane Capacitor is a new node on the left side of the tree that grants chance to gain Arcane Surge on kill, as well as increasing the effect of the buff. Although Path of Building doesn't support it yet it seems to me to be absurdly powerful. We could probably keep Arcane Surge active during map clearing using just with this 10% chance, but that only grants a level 1 Arcane Surge and won't be active during all boss fights. The difference between a level 1 and level 20 Arcane Surge buff is 10% more spell damage, 9% increased cast speed, and 0.5% mana regen. In addition, the actual support gems provides another 19% more spell damage to supported skills that is not attached to the buff. Once we factor in the 60% increased effect of Arcane Surge from Arcane Capacitor and its feed node, which I'm assuming does NOT affect the 19% more spell damage attached to the gem, we get:

Level 1 Arcane Surge Buff -
10% more spell damage
10% increased cast speed
0.5% mana regen

Level 20 Arcane Surge Support -
51% more spell damage
30.4% increased cast speed
1.6% mana regen

Based on these numbers it's clearly worth it to use the support gem ourselves, and still pick up this notable.

As I mentioned earlier, PoB does not currently support Arcane Capacitor. To correctly calculate your DPS, add the following lines to one of your items by editing it directly:
11% increased Cast Speed
12% more Spell Damage
0.6% of maximum Mana Regenerated per second

Guard Skill
This build is in kind of awkward spot between all three guard skills. Originally we used Warlord's Mark which generates Endurance Charges and would have been perfect, but sadly the loss of leech from the effect no longer makes it worth it to run so we don't get to take advantage of that (yes I'm salty about this change).

When considering our options it's important to consider what we actually want a guard skill to accomplish for the build. We're taking damage pretty constantly and don't really have an issue with sustain, so our goal should be to make the guard skill more likely to trigger when we're actually under threat. We can make it statistically more likely to trigger during a huge spike of damage by using a high ranked CwDT, so I've chosen to stick to a rank 20.

For specific guard skill choice, first I compared the two which have similar effects - Molten Shell and Steelskin. Molten Shell only comes out on top under fairly ideal circumstances (stationary for Brine Crown armour, and with flasks popped). If we're under heavy threat we're more likely to be trying to dodge away from something or perhaps low on flasks in a long boss fight. This points us to Steelskin for a reliable 2209 damage absorb at 70% throughput. We'll burn through that after taking 3156 damage. Immortal Call makes us take 35% less damage for the duration (1.64s with max Increased Duration) with no cap, so it'll absorb more total damage that Steelskin if we take over 6311 damage in that period. Seems unlikely, but let's entertain the possibility it happens. That's 3848 DPS, which is fairly likely to kill us despite 35% mitigation through the rest of our sustain anyways, especially considering we probably just took a massive hit to trigger the guard skill in the first place.

Conclusion: Steelskin is the play.

HC Viable?
Yes. Note the HC variations mentioned in the skills section. Know your limits.

SSF Viable?
I haven't tried it but I don't see why not as all our uniques are pretty optional. The one catch there is Atziri's Promise which gives us our only source of leech and is important for endgame. If you are comfortable fighting Atziri, great! If not, you'll want to find another source of leech.

Why is your gear so shit?
I wanted to see how far I could push the build on a tight budget. Some pieces are actually quite good for the build though, and just happen to be cheap as well.

How do we fight Atziri / Uber Atziri?
It's a huge pain in the ass due to both her mirror clone and base passive reflect. Even the passive will kill you without significant investment in reflect damage reduction. Unless you are SSF and need to do a kill to get your flask I'd recommend just not bothering with the flight. I used Yugul Pantheon and a Sibyl's Lament for reflect safety, which lost me dex on my ring so I had to get lower level versions of my dex gems. On top of that you can't use arc with mirror clone out. I did still use Arc for Vaal Oversouls and Trio, but swapped to Lightning Tendrils (also Spell Echo out for Conc Effect) for Atziri herself. You could also swap gems back and forth as phases swap but I prefer to not worry about that.

Last edited by Dolmur on Oct 8, 2019, 10:00:35 PM
Last bumped on Sep 23, 2019, 2:10:43 PM

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