[3.8] CI Mjolner CoC Ball Lightning Assassin - up to 6M Shaper DPS, 11k ES, 5k+ ES Recovery/s

Wrote a new guide. Please post the discussion on the sceptre version in the new thread.

Suggested change for 3.9

Amulet. Astramentis has become a very good choice because of the introduction of catalysts. It can now provide up to +139 to all attributes. When combined with Shaper's touch, it gives 57% increased maximum ES and 57% increased evasion rating. A rare amulet can give you more offensive stats, but Astramentis is better defensively. Astramentis also makes it easy to gain 412 strength, so you can get offensive stats somewhere else.

Flask. Jade flask is a very good choice, especially when combined with Astramentis. It gives 40-43% evade chance. Use of Jade flask instead of Granite flask is highly recommended.

Boots. because Doryani's Delusion is expensive this league, it is not recommended anymore. Fenumus' Spinnerets is a great choice, especially if you cannot afford Watcher's Eye. Sin Trek is a good choice, too. It gives you not only ES but also evasion rating. A pair of rare boots are probably the best, because they can roll elemental resists. However, ES boots are generally expensive, and crafting is not easy (most players don't know how to craft them). Therefore, unique boots are the recommended budget option.

Passive tree. Patch 3.9 buffed monsters' life a lot. We now want more damage to have a good play feel.
First, I suggest Thread of Hope, a new jewel that allows you to allocate passive nodes that are within a certain ring. The ring radius can be small, medium, large or very large, and you can use divine orbs to change its radius.
I suggest using this jewel with a very large radius near Minion Instability to allocate 4 passives that are highlighted in red in the following picture.

These passives are strong both offensively and defensively. Moreover, two of them are inside the radius of Lethal Pride. Therefore, you are now more likely to find good bonus mods from Lethal Pride.

If you want even more damage, +1 to maximum power charges nodes are recommended because you now have better scaling with power charges. In addition, use of Militant Faith (mods don't matter) instead of Lethal Pride to convert the MoM keystone to Inner Conviction would give you up to 21% more spell damage. However, you'll have a hard time getting 412 strength and capping elemental resists. Therefore, Lethal Pride is still a recommended jewel unless you have godlike gear.

Suggested level 91 tree: https://pastebin.com/WP5Pt07G
1) Don't forget to take the normal node in front of Disciple of the forbidden, (+5% global crit multi per power charge) although it is not allocated in the PoB link.
2) Because Astramentis is the recommended amulet now, we don't need extra dex from the passive tree. For this reason, Precision and Sanctity are not recommended anymore. To have a perfect attack rate (6.0), it is recommended to use a jewel with an attack speed mod (up to +7% attack speed).
3) From here, you can take 1) two +1 to maximum power charges nodes, 2) Insightfulness cluster, 3) a jewel socket near Soul Thief. Choose whatever you like.

This is an assassin version of CoC ball lightning build. The Scion version can be found here.
In patch 3.8, I recommend you play the assassin version because assassin has much better mobility.
In short, this build is extremely strong because it has good damage, good clear speed and good tankiness. This build is strong in every aspect.

-Tanky (12k ES with endgame gear, 10k with moderate gear)
-Great sustain (5000+ES recovery/s)
-Great clear speed
-Great single target damage (Up to 6M Shaper DPS)
-Counters Vorci client crash bug because you kill them before you d/c (your client still crashes though).
-All map mods possible (For difficult map mods, see Gameplay Tips section)
-Smooth playstyle – no gem swaps, no movement skills to proc arcane surge or fortify

-Not league starter friendly (requires 5-10 ex for this build to work)
-Can deal significant damage to your computer due to the large number of hits per second
-The game doesn't feel challenging because you are too strong


Pit of the Chimera
Uber Elder
Blighted Lava Lake (T14)
In blighted lava lake, I used greater multiple projectiles support and Dying Sun instead of slower projectile support and The Wise Oak.

Videos from other players
[3.9] Shrine (T16)
[3.9] Hydra (T16)
[3.9] Minotaur (T16)
[3.9] Chimera (T16)
[3.9] Phoenix (T16)
[3.9] Uber Elder
[3.9] Sirus
[3.9] Uber Atziri
[3.9] Sirus (fully watchstoned)

If you want to add your video to the guide, please send a massage to me with a link to it and a brief description (name of the map, tier, etc.)

How This Build Works

Offensively, this build tries to trigger as many ball lightnings as possible. We have two ball lightning setups for this: cyclone/CoC setup in 6-linked chest armor and another setup in 3-linked Mjolner. Cyclone was selected because it gives us a huge attack speed boost (200% more AS), stun immunity and an ability to attack while moving. With these setups, we can trigger more than 10 ball lightnings per second.

The most important defensive layer in this build is Watcher's eye with an "ES on hit" mod. Because ball lightning has a very high hit frequency (150 ms/hit), we can gain an insane amount of ES from this unique jewel alone. Let's say, our ball lightning hits 13 times per cast and we cast 10 ball lightnings per second. This corresponds to 136 hits per second (cyclone hits 6 times/s), hence 4000 ES recovery/s. On top of that, we use energy shield leech and ES regeneration from consecrated ground. With all of these combined, we achieve 5000+ES recovery/s against a single target, and the recovery becomes even more if multiple enemies are around you.

To equip Mjolner, we need 412 strength and 300 intelligence. The 300 int requirement is easy to achieve because we go to the northern part of the passive tree. On the other hand, the 412 str requirement is much more difficult to achieve. To reach 412 str, we use two uniques: Efficient Training and Lethal Pride. Efficient training gives us around 100 str. Lethal Pride adds +2/+4 str to normal nodes in radius. With proper positioning you get 50 strength from this jewel, as well as some nice bonus stats. These jewels will enable you to reach 412 str easily. You can also use "Utmost Might" anointment on your amulet to get roughly 70 strength when your gear is not good enough.

To make a good use of 400+ str, we use Shaper's touch. This gives us more than 80% increased maximum ES, as well as 800-1000 accuracy rating, which is necessary to achieve high hit chance.


For uniques, we use Mjolner, Shaper's Touch, Doryani's Delusion, and Mark of the Shaper.
Mjolner and Shaper's touch are very cheap, so look for good corrupted mods. Recommended corrupted mods are "xx% chance to fortify on melee hit" for Mjolner, and "attacks have xx% critical strike chance" or "spells have xx% critical strike chance" for Shaper's Touch. If you can't afford fortify-on-hit Mjolner, that's fine. You can kill Uber Elder without fortify. To color these corrupted items, use "at least one green socket" crafting.

Doryani's Delusion is the recommended boots because it has a good balance between offence and defense. Make sure that you pick the one with added LIGHTNING damage. Alternatively, you can also use Sin Trek if you need extra dex from boots.

Mark of the Shaper gives you a huge damage boost. Before you hit level 80, use any rare ring with a decent +ES mod.

Rare body armour, helmet and shield should have high ES and elemental resistances. For helmet, I recommend "nearby enemies have -9% lightning resistances" mod and "ball lightning deals 40% increased damage" enchant. This helmet can be crafted by dense + metallic fossils. Rare shields should have at least 200 ES and some resistances. If possible, try to get some spell damage and critical strike chance for spells to boost your damage output.

For jewelry, look for ES, elemental resists and strength.

Crystal belt is the best base for our belt. Before you hit level 79, use any rare belt with enough elemental resistances and strength. Heavy belt is recommended.

Because we are using Mark of the Shaper, we have to use a rare Elder ring. Look for something that gives ES, strength and elemental resistances. It is a good idea to have an empty suffix here so that you can beastcraft the "aspect of the spider" mod. If not, craft it somewhere else.

For amulet, a "+ All attributes" mod is highly recommended because this is the most efficient way to get dex. (If you can't find an amulet with an "all attributes" mod, use Sin Trek for boots slot). If possible, get some offensive mods here.

Recommended anointment for amulet is Utmost Might (a lot of strength). If you want to min-max this build, consider Tranquility (2 golden + 1 azure oils), which gives you roughly 16% more damage!!

You absolutely need Watcher's Eye with an "ES on hit" mod for this build. The other Zealotry mod "increased critical strike chance against enemies on consecrated ground" is an overkill, you don't need it at all. Honestly, given that you already have an insane amount of damage, it is better for you to have an extra defensive mod here.

The idea of Lethal Pride is to gain a good amount of strength (50) as well as some nice stats. Extra mods on notable nodes are not necessary in low-tier maps, so prioritize other itmes. Once you get good gear, consider using divine orbs on it to find nice mods on notable nodes. Recommended notable modes include "1% of life regenerated per second", "5% chance to deal double damage", "5% chance to gain an endurance charge on kill", "+20 to strength", and "20% fire resistance". Unnatural Instinct gives you a lot of movement speed, attack speed and accuracy rating. It's not mandatory but is very nice.

Positioning of unique jewels

Consider to use anogher Efficient Training in place of Lethal Pride if you need even more strength from your jewels.

Rare jewels should have critical strike multiplier and increased maximum energy shield mods. "increased lightning damage" and "increased spell damage" mods are fine, but critical strike multiplier mods are better. It is also a good idea to get some resistances here.

For flasks, use something that gives you damage and movement speed. Wise Oak is chosen because we don't have a lot of lightning penetration. Make sure that your uncapped lightning resistance is the highest. Diamond flask is the best flask in any crit-based builds. Silver flask gives you attack speed and movement speed, both of which are very good for this build. Make sure that your attacks per second does not exceed 6.0/s during flask effect, because attacking faster than Mjolner and CoC cooldown (0.15 s) will result in a DPS loss. Quick silver flask is a must in any cyclone build, and you want the "increased movement speed during flask effect" mod here. The last flask slot is open to your creativity, use anything you like. These flasks should have bleed immunity, freeze immunity and curse immunity suffixes.
Edit: Jade flask seems to be better than Granite flask because Jade flask gives you 40% chance to evade, which is insane for a single flask slot.

Budget option

Mathorg posted his budget gear (<5 ex), so I decided to copy&paste it here.

If you want to further reduce the cost, use a cheaper 6-linked body armour.

If you cannot afford Wather's eye, use these boots. These boots are good enough to do all content in 3.9. If you don't have level 4 enlighten, take the Sovereignty cluster in the passive tree to gain reduced mana reservation.

Further min-maxing

To further improve your character, look for even more strength from your body armour, shield, belt and amulet. My belt is far from optimum btw. The idea is to gain high enough strength to replace Efficient Training with a rare jewel.
For amulet, you can potentially use an elder amulet with "gain 13% of non-chaos damage as extra chaos damage", an shaper amulet with "12% increased attributes", or a talisman with a "16% increased attributes" implicit.

Skill Gems

6-link setup
cyclone-cast on critical strike-ball lightning-increased critical strike-slower projectile-elemental focus
If you haven't got ES leech from the passive tree yet, use energy leech instead of elemental focus.
3-link setup in Mjolner
ball lightning-slower projectile-elemental focus (or energy leech)
3-link setup in a rare shield
withering step-faster casting-flame dash
This setup is up to your personal preference, use anything you prefer.
4-link setup
cast when damage taken (level 1)-immortal call (level 3) -wave of conviction (level 7)-ice golem (level 3)
precision (low level)-zealotry-discipline-enlighten (level 4)
In order to use aspect of the spider on top of these auras, we need level 4 enlighten support. Zealotry is much better than wrath because it creates consecrated ground, which in turn increases our critical strike chance.

vortex-arcane surge-curse on hit-conductivity (or assassin's mark)
The idea here is to use an instant cast spell to proc arcane surge. This is important because you can cast an instant spell like vortex while cycloning. This makes our game play much smoother. We also link curse on hit-conductivity to reduce lightning resistance of tough enemies. Keep in mind that only the initial hit of vortex can inflict a curse. When you are low level and don't have high critical strike chance, use assassin's mark instead of conductivity.

Passive Tree

Ascendancy Points

I recommend you start this build at level 68, when you can equip vaal regalia.

level 68 passive tree
level 89 passive tree
level 95 passive tree

In the level 95 tree a "+30 dex" node was replaced by "precision", which gives 20 dex. At this point your gear should be good enough to drop 10 dex from the passive tree.

PoB link
1) This PoB link is for level 97 character. The passive tree around Scion starting point is a little bit changed to adjust my attack speed.
2) You should use Efficient Training unless you got enough strength from your gear.
3) It seems that PoB doesn't consider "100% increased critical strike chance" effect against enemies on consecrated ground. Therefore, this effect was manually added in Lethal Pride jewel.

Bandits & Pantheon
Bandits: Help Alira.
Pantheon: Lunaris & Abberath, this is up to your preference.

Leveling Guide


Weapon: a rare wand of sceptre with spell damage, lightning damage and/or added fire/cold/lightning damage to spells.

Armour and jewelry: Anything that gives you life and elemental resists. After Act 6, keep your elemental resists capped!

Recommended Uniques

Tabula Rasa: easy 6-link
Wanderlust & Nomic's Storm:You want to move faster, right?
Crest of Perandus:life, lightning resist, movement speed. How can this be a thing? Too OP.
Goldrim:Tons of elemental resists, no life though.
Praxis:Solves a mana problem caused by early 6-link.
Astramentis:You won't have attribute problems anymore. Also gives you roughly 50 life.

Skill Gems

level 1-11 freezing pulse
level 12-27 arc-added lightning damage-added cold damage-arcane surge
level 28- ball lightning-added lightning damage-controlled destruction-elemental focus-unleash-(spell echo/faster casting/inspiration)

Passive Tree

In early levels, you need life and lightning damage nodes. When you get CI (level 68 or later), you respec these unnecessary nodes and take ES nodes.
Please note that this leveling tree assumes that you have Watcher's Eye. The "on hit ES" you get from WE is very strong early game, so abuse it ASAP.

36 points
68 points
81 points

Gameplay Tips

-Against stationary enemies, try to hit them at the edge of your cyclone. This way you can maximize the number of hits per cast of ball lightning.
-If you want to run ele reflect maps, replace elemental focus support in Mjolner with increased critical strikes support. Also make sure that you always pop up your diamond flask to increase crit chance.
-If you want to run "no regen" maps, drop aspect of the spider and bring a mana flask.

DPS Calculation

DPS calculation of this build is very complicated for a lot of reasons. Ball lightning deals damage over time, so its damage is highly dependent on the size of the target and whether or not the target is moving. In this section I will explain how to calculate your DPS against a stationary target. I assume you use PoB. Otherwise, install it first.

step 1
Import your character to your PoB. Because PoB cannot recognize Lethal Pride, you have to manually create the jewel. If your Lethal Pride grants "5% chance to deal double damage", write "5% more damage" instead. In this jewel, you want to add two additional mods. One is "100% increased global critical strike chance", which is granted by consecrated ground. Of course consecrated ground cannot be created against normal/magic enemies, but you don't need high DPS against them anyway. I assume you are interested in your DPS against rare/unique enemies.
The other mod is 20% increased attack speed, which comes from assassin's ascendancy. Make sure that the mods you added is displayed in blue. If one of them are shown in red, it is not recognized by PoB. Look for a typo.

step 2
Edit the description of Mjolner because PoB ignores the "socketed Lightning Spells deal 100% increased spell Damage if triggered" mod. Delete this and add "socketed gems deal 100% increased spell damage".

step 3
Go to the configuration tab and edit it. Some items are optional. Then go to the item tab and check some flasks if you want to add the flask effect for DPS calculation.

step 4
TLDR; Use the following formula to calculate your DPS.
DPS = (Damage(CoC) * EffectiveCritChance + Damage(Mjolner)) *HitChance * AttackRate * 12,
where Damage(CoC) and Damage(Mjolner) are average damage of ball lightning of each setup, EffectiveCritChance is effective crit chance of cyclone, HitChance is the hit chance of cyclone, and AttackRate is attack rate of cyclone (attack rate should be approximately 6.0 or lower, otherwise you attack more often than the cooldown of CoC).

Long explanation
The DPS calculation is complicated because you don't know how many times a single ball lightning hits. If your cyclone is level 21/quality 20, the radius of cyclone is 24. The radius of ball lightning is 26. The radius of an enemy vary, but here let's assume that the target has a radius of 2. With this assumption you can say that ball lightning deals damage while it moves 54 units (24 + 2 * 2 + 26). The projectile speed of ball lightning is 48 units/sec, but with level 21 slower projectiles support it becomes 24 units/sec. Taken together, ball lightning deals damage over 54/24 = 2.25 sec. Since ball lightning hits every 0.15 sec, each ball lightning hits 2.25/0.15 = 15 times.

The discussion given above assumes that you are hitting the target at the very edge of cyclone. I think this is an unrealistic assumption, and in reality you hit the target inside the cyclone radius. If you do so, each ball lightning hits less than 15 times. I think 13 times per cast is reasonable, or 12 times per cast if you are not confident with hitting targets at the edge of cyclone.

The trigger frequency of the CoC setup is the following:
AttackRate * EffectiveCritChance * HitChance.
Therefore, DPS of the CoC setup is
AverageDamage(CoC) * AttackRate * EffectiveCritChance * HitChance * 12 (or 13).

Likewise, DPS of the Mjolner setup is
AverageDamage(Mjolner) * AttackRate * HitChance * 12 (or 13)

The total DPS is the sum of these two.

Note that for the first 2 seconds your actual DPS is lower than the calculated DPS, because during this period the number of ball lightings is not enough. Unfortunately, almost all enemies die in 2 seconds, so you rarely see your real DPS.

My Other Builds

Last edited by N0esy on Apr 5, 2020, 1:40:07 PM
Last bumped on Jun 15, 2020, 5:21:52 AM
Uploaded the guide.
Any comments/feedback/suggestions are always welcome!
N0esy wrote:
Uploaded the guide.
Any comments/feedback/suggestions are always welcome!

Looks like a cool build! Could you make a video where you try to tank the shaper beam? I would like to compare sustain to my build which is similar to your build (https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2640382/)
Rumblepie wrote:

Looks like a cool build! Could you make a video where you try to tank the shaper beam? I would like to compare sustain to my build which is similar to your build (https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2640382/)

Uploaded it. Yours is a nice build, too.
Sorry could you tell me what is minimum - budget - requirement to start this build and what to upgrade next? I just have few ex and very confuse what to buy first.

Thank you
insangel0001 wrote:
Sorry could you tell me what is minimum - budget - requirement to start this build and what to upgrade next? I just have few ex and very confuse what to buy first.

Thank you

Hi, as is written in the guide, you need 5-10 ex to start this build.
Key expensive items are the following:
Watcher's Eye with "ES on hit" 2.5-3 ex
Efficient Training 100c
Lethal Pride (you can use the second Efficient Training instead to save money) 2 ex
6-linked ES body armour 2-3 ex if you buy 6-linked level 86 vaal regalia
What about delving with this build and doing high tier blighted maps?
knehtq wrote:
What about delving with this build and doing high tier blighted maps?

This build is very good at delving. You can find a video here (This is a Scion build but the playstyle is similar).

As for blighted maps, this build can clear red-tier blighted maps without a problem. However, this build is melee, so you have to move around to kill enemies. I have to admit that there are better builds to do blighted maps.
Thanks for the great build. I've been following your thread for the Scion version and took your suggestion to try it out with an Assassin instead. Using this build I got my first uber elder kill this league, and deathless no less.
Is it possible to use some other lightning skills instead of BoL? Arc for example?

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