3.8Self cast Ball Lightning Hierophant - 14k ehp, 12kehp/second, 8 million shaper dps

Hello everyone, this is the build I played to my first level 100 during blight league. The build is extremely tanky, has high damage and most importantly is fun to play. While I am not the first person to think of and play this build, I believe I am the person who has taken it the furthest.

The idea of the build is to abuse the synergy between the heirophants unmatched aoe and the spell ball lightning. Unlike most heirophant builds, we don't use totems. Self cast allows us to abuse ball lightnings rapid hits to regen extremely high amounts of life, which goes well with the heirophants naturally high effective life total.

Strengths of the build
-clears quickly with high area of effect
-boss killer
-high hp and regen makes us very tanky - I died once at level 99 to porcupines while half asleep over many hours of grinding 5 sextant fully juiced up t15/16s

-relies on hitting enemies to replenish life, so enemies that deal damage while dead can cause problems(mostly deep delves and porcupines)
-cant do elemental reflect maps

Path of building: https://pastebin.com/4dc7Hs6D


Ball lightning can do 6million + dps to an endgame boss with no adds that has hit you. If the boss has adds, you can do 8 million+

How does this work? Each ball lightning projectile lasts 3 seconds, hitting every 0.15, which equals hitting 20 times per cast. To ensure ball lightning hits this many times, we need a combination of high aoe (at least 35 radius is needed-we have 38) plus a level 20 slower projectiles support gem. So when using path of building to calculate our damage, we simply assume our dps is 20 times the number pob gives us.

While clearing I prefer to not use slower projectiles, as it lowers the range of the spell. We still have more than enough damage to clear any map quickly. You can expect to hit 11 times per cast instead, but ball lightning will kill enemies 2 screens away.

I prefer to use a utility orb of storms as my second 6 link. This buffs us, debuffs enemies, and clears weak enemies onscreen quickly without having to stop to cast ball lightning.


We have 14000 effective hp- we use life, mana, and energy shield all at once.

~4000 life,
~5000 unreserved mana with 60% mind over matter effect(mind over matter, cloak of defiance, heirophant ascendancy, clarity watchers eye), which means we can stack up to 1.5x our life total and still have mana count as life
~5000 energy shield(mostly from heirophant and corrupted soul)

We also stack life, mana, and energy shield gained on hit effects.

-life: only source is shaper rings
-mana: best source is mind of the council, shaper rings can have it too

-energy shield: only source is discipline watchers eye

Assuming single target, slower projectiles, we can gain up to 12000 ehp per second with mind of the council.

We generate more endurance charges in all situations than immortal call can use up

We can use hinder+knockback to keep powerful melee rares off of us

Passive tree

level 100:


you can use elemental overload while leveling, just dont take any crit multiplier until you remove it

Optionally you can use intuitive leap on the pain attunement or mind drinker sockets.

If you use healthy mind, place it by deep thoughts

Place your timeless jewel below mind over matter

I take mind over matter and fire walker because my timeless jewel changes those to better passives.


Take illuminated devotion and divine guidance in any order, then sanctuary of thought, then conviction of power

Optionally you can take arcane blessing over conviction of power. You gain: extra sockets you would have used on arcane surge, free shock and freeze immunity(allows you to take more damage flasks)

You lose: all endurance charge generation- so use a high level steelskin with high level cwdt instead of immortal call.



Always use quicksilver and instant life flask

Diamond flask provides a huge damage boost

Silver flask can be replaced if you use onslaught on orb of storms

If you use mind of the council, use a defensive flask of your choice

If you don't, use an enduring mana flask

Suffixes- movespeed, bleed, freeze, curse suffixes are mandatory

if you use mind of the council shock immunity is too

cast speed is nice if you can fit it

If you use arcane blessing, you can fit in 2 damage flasks. Best choices are wise oak and Atziri’s promise. Vessel of vinktar isn't bad. Dying sun gives an increase to clear area, but no single target damage.


I actually like running lab so I enchanted my gloves and boots myself. I would say you should stick to buying a good helm enchant. Glove enchants are not mandatory. Boot enchants give a great boost and you should try and get a good one. You have a 1/16 chance of getting a specific one, boost the number of tries per lab by buying “twice enchanted” prophecy and hitting all 4 darkshrines each run. This build is surprisingly safe in lab despite having no regen because traps deal %life damage, and most of our life is mana. Bring an extra life flask just in case.

Helm- absolute best is “ball lightning fires an additional projectile”, the extra coverage is very useful.

If you are using mind of council, you will have to just use whatever you can get.

-16% increased attack and cast speed if you've Killed Recently
-Damage Penetrates 10% of Enemy Elemental Resistances if you haven't Killed Recently
-Adds 1 to 160 Lightning Damage if you haven't Killed Recently
-70% increased Mana Regeneration Rate if you've cast a Spell Recently

killing stuff is much more common than not killing stuff, so I recommend the first one for damage, its more useful 95% or the time

If you need mana regen because you don't use mind of the council, use the last one, its always on.


None of them scale with our area of effect, but the spell ones do scale with our damage- even then they are quite weak compared to our main spell and have long cooldowns

the 2 lightning ones are commandment of thunder and commandment of the tempest

commandment of spite gets special mention for vomiting out chilled ground, not really needed if you use cold snap cwdt.

Anoint- Counterweight is the best damage one. Cheap too


Use brine king until you get skyforth

arakaali for shock resist or solaris for cant be crit twice in a row

ryslatha for better life flasks

Unique items


Pledge of hands- 6 link 3-5 ex

Absolute best mana possible. Socket ball lightning into this. It gives us a seventh link, greater spell echo. This is basically a 52% more multiplier if you use spell echo, but locks you into 4 casts every time. It also adds a lot of aoe, use a curse while socketed into this to see how much. Path of building doesn't support greater spell echo- just whip out your calculator and multiply the damage by 1.52.

The 4 casts minimum can be hard to get used to. Basically you will want to use orb of storms to clear white mobs and pull out ball lightning for higher hp monsters. Always use frostblink while using pledge of hands- it allows you to move between casts, so you can dodge while locked in place.

To get the colours needed, chromatic orb spam till you have 6 blue sockets(takes 100 on average), then use vorici on research to add a white socket so you can use slower projectile on endgame bosses.

A corrupted one can have 15% cast speed or 30% aoe implicit - much better than the next to useless block chance if you can find one.

As good as this staff is, It can be replaced with a multimodded staff with enough currency invested.

Mind of the council- 1-10c

mana, energy shield, 20000 mana gained/second.

Allows us to ignore all other sources of mana regen. The chance for enemies to shock thing can kill you, I recommend a shock immunity flask.

Can be replaced by a rare helmet for more damage/ehp/a useful enchantment. If you do this you will have to get mana from other sources, like enduring mana flask, mana gained on hit shaper ring, stacking mana regen/ mana on kill. You can always go back to mind of the council for single target boss fights where you need the regen, like uber elder.

Cloak of defiance- 4-6 ex 6 linked

Energy shield, mana, mana regen, mind over matter for free, extra mind over matter effect. Cant be replaced.

Skyforth- 1-2 ex

infinite power charges = infinite endurance charges with our ascendancy

immunity to all stuns, cannot emphasize enough how important this is

Buy a max mana one and enchant it yourself.

Choir of the storm- 30c

Mana and lots of damage

Lightning bolt hits 2 times per second max. It does about 2-5% of ball lightnings damage depended on your gear and links, not too bad since its free.

Anoint: Allocate counterweight- best damage node. Saves us 5 passive points.

It is possible to craft a rare amulet that does more damage than this one, but it is expensive

Watchers eye- 20c- 10+ex

We have 2 very important mods from watchers eye.

Damage taken from mana before life while affected by clarity- 20c- adds a ton to your ehp total

Energy shield gained for each enemy hit while affected by discipline-1.5 ex- most important mod. At first this appears to reduce your ehp by reserving a lot of mana with discipline, But that isn't actually true. Without this mod you will never gain enough energy shield per second for your energy shield to actually protect you. The first monster that hits you will reduce it to zero, then it wont come back as long as you are being hit.

Think of it as giving up 1000 mana ehp to gain up to 5000 energy shield hp that can actually be replenished.

Both together cost 3-5 ex. Use divine orbs if you cant find one with 10% mind over matter effect.

Any extra mods are a bonus- I got one with crit multi from precision for 16 ex

Timeless jewel – 1 ex

Must be glorious vanity, # sacrificed to Doryani.

This gives the keystone corrupted soul. 50% of Non-Chaos Damage taken bypasses Energy Shield, Gain 20% of Maximum Life as Extra Maximum Energy Shield. The first line doesn't change how we play at all. The second line gives 1000 energy shield.

The best place to put this is below mind over matter- we don't need mind over matter on the tree once we have cloak of defiance.

This jewel also replaces all passives in its radius- this means we lose 50 intelligence, 10 strength, 56% increased damage, 14 mana, and 5% cast speed. In return we get a random assortment of stats determined by the number sacrificed. My jewel, 3889, gives back life, cold resist, movespeed, mana regen, spell damage. It also turns the fire walker passive into a 30% lightning damage, 4% lightning pen node.

Once you have enough currency, buy/resell a bunch of these and play around with what passives you can get. The only passive that ruins a jewel imo is increased projectile speed.


Try to get as much mana and life as possible. Pretty much all of your resists come from here. We need at least 111/114 dex for level 20/21 slower projectiles

rings 1-2 ex- need at least 1, preferably 2 shaper life gained on spell hit rings. Mana gained on hit is needed if you don't use mind of the council. Assassins mark on hit is super nice if you can get it.

Belt 1-4 ex- stygian vise is best, get max life, mana, resists. Get energy shield only once the others are maxed out.

Gloves 1-3 ex- some nice affixes to look out for:
-curse on hit implicit (corruption)
-%mana (temple)
-crit chance on shocked enemy (temple)
-blind on hit (shaper)

Jewels 10c-1ex

Use these to balance resists and dexterity if needed.

Life and mana are good of course

best damage affixes are cast speed and crit multi(not crit chance).

Added lightning damage to spells is only better if the roll is nearly maxed out.

Best abyss jewel affix is cast speed if you have crit recently.

Try to get one chance to hinder on hit with spells abyss jewel

knockback is useful with ball lightning, try to get it on regular jewels

Replacing uniques with rares

Only do this when you have currency to burn and have all the previous unique items. Build is complete without these, but they can take you to the next level.


Presents a trade off. Give up the infinite mana sustain of mind of the council for more damage and the best enchant.

Use with mana on hit shaper ring, a source of mana on kill, an enduring mana flask, and as much mana regen as you can get to map comfortably. Even then I would consider mind of the council for single target bosses.

1) buy an energy shield elder base with ilevel 81+ and “ball lightning fires an additional projectile” enchant, 1-3 ex
2)buy 100 mettalic and lucent fossils, 100 potent resonators(remember Niko will sell you these for azurite), 500c
3)spam till you have +mana, %increased mana, -9 enemy lightning resistance. +% mana regen is a bonus if you can get it.
4)annul bad mods off, start over if you removed a good one
5)multimod, 2ex


You are freed from using greater spell echo. Much higher damage possible. People do craft these, you might be able to find one. 10 ex is a fair price.

1)buy an elder 6 link ilevel 80+ eclipse staff 1-2ex
2)buy 1000+ alteration orbs, some regals, annuls. 1+ex
3)spam alts till you get inspiration support, preferably level 20
4)regal, then annul and hope you get lucky- you can use prefixes cant be changed to help here(2ex)
5)you should have a rare item with only 1 mod, inspiration/spell damage. If you get another good mod like + lightning spell gem level then you're an rng god
6)Multimod(2ex), then craft on +2 support gems(2ex), cast speed(1ex), chance to deal double damage(divine), mana(4c)

Socket colours are different this time, we use a red socket for empower level 4 (3-4 ex)

Why +2 support gems+empower? Wouldn't added lightning damage give more damage?

Ball lightning only adds 40% of added damage to the actual spell damage. Using empower to juice up the spell gem level increases the base damage, effectively adding at a 100% rate. Also adds to the level of the other support gems. Overall it gives more damage, test it out in path of building if you don't believe me.


Outdamages choir of the storm, even taking lightning bolt into account. People actually craft these, so you should be able to buy a 2 mod one for a few ex and multimod it. I bought mine for 5 ex, so I’m not sure how much currency is needed to craft it.

1) buy 82 shaper amulet. I use jade for the dexterity.
2)alt regal annul till you have elemental penetration(shaper) as well as 30+ crit multi. Divine orb to bring up the pen/chaos number
3)multimod life, mana, castspeed or resists

Prismatic fossil also has a greater chance of making the pen mod appear- might be worth trying, idk


Ball lightning

Get level 21 as soon as possible, quality too.

Always use energy leech, spell echo

If you are using pledge of hands, use faster casting for quality of life

Check path of building if controlled destruction, added lightning damage, or lightning penetration are best for the rest of the sockets- it depends on the rest of your gear/level

Use slower projectiles vs hard bosses over controlled destruction, added lightning damage, or lightning penetration-whichever is weakest

Use level 4 empower if you have a +2 socketed gems staff- if you use this then don't use added lightning damage

Orb of storms

Utility 6 link. Basically all 5 links are optional. You can use a cwdt 6 link if you prefer

Arcane surge- make sure to keep level low enough that 1 cast = 1 arcane surge. Can also put this on flame dash.

Elemental proliferation- causes each enemy shocked to spread its shock at maximum strength to all mobs around it- essentially cheats the normal shock restrictions. Its really easy to hit a white mob for 10% life for a 50% shock. Persists even after the mobs die, unless you destroy their corpses. Huge damage boost when mapping.

Energy leech- best damage link, also makes orb better at refilling energy shield on its own

Innervate- buffs all your damage, including ball lightning

Chain- orb will hit 13 enemies each cast instead of 5. Also allows it to arc further out, reaching offscreen. This plus your high aoe makes orb clear the whole screen of scattered weak mobs nearly instantly- still need ball lightning for strong mobs or huge tightly packed clumps of enemies.

Curse on hit- if you have no other way of applying curses. Wastes 2 sockets and doesn't add to mana multiplier, weakening arcane surge.

Blind- take half damage from attacks over a period of time. Does nothing to reduce burst damage.

Onslaught- allows you to replace silver flask

Increased duration- longer innervate/orb/arcane surge duration

Culling strike-basically a global 10% more multiplier on your damage-use this over chain vs single target bosses

why not storm brand?

1 orb does more damage than 1 brand, and is faster to summon. Also has cool synergy with lightning spells where it arcs each time you cast one(once per set of casts- so arcs once per greater spell echo quad cast).


Best damage curses are assassins mark and projectile weakness. Both have additional utility as well. Conductivity and elemental weakness aren't quite as good because we already stack lightning pen in this build.

Temporal chains and enfeeble work as defensive curses too.

Socket these in cwdt or curse on hit with orb. Curse on hit shaper ring or corrupted gloves are good too.


precision level 1 is worth 2-3 dps, very replaceable

only use clarity and discipline with watchers eye

Use enlighten when you get your discipline watchers eye so you can stay above 5000 mana unreserved.


For getting around choose between:

lightning warp(4 sockets) faster casting, less duration, swift affliction- best traveling skill but kinda bad for dodging

flame dash(1-3sockets) faster casting, arcane surge

Phase run(2 sockets) increased duration. Eats your hard earned frenzy charges.

Flame dash phase run increased duration arcane surge is a good 4 link, arcane surge gets a big boost in duration

For dodging stuff frostblink is king, always use this with pledge of hands

Cast when damage taken

Leave this at level 1 to cast as often as possible. Make sure not to over level the other gems.

Immortal call level 3, as much quality as you can get.

Then choose between wave of conviction(big damage boost), cold snap(chill+frenzy charges), or a curse.

Vaal cold snap is useful for getting frenzy charges vs bosses.

Low level storm brand on cwdt will cast all 3 brands out and get loads of hits for you- probably allows you to afk safely anywhere XD

Golem- use lightning golem. I cant be bothered to resummon him.

Shock mechanics, Or can I shock shaper?

All calculations done with multimodded elder eclipse staff at max pob damage. I have no idea what i am doing. Outdated as of 3.9

Shock goes up to 50% increased damage at 10% of a mobs health in a single hit. We dont have to do as much if we have shock effectiveness- we have 20% from the passive tree, so only have to do 9%?

Lightning damage has a very large damage range, we have crit, and we have chance to deal double damage. We hit many times per second, so we can expect a high roll that shocks for max amount to occur consistently.

Assume 10% chance for ball lightning to hit in upper 10% of its range, at least 26949 damage. 80% crit chance with 5.49 crit multi, 10% chance for double damage. 26949x5.49x2=295909

0.1x0.1x0.8= 0.008, 0.8% chance to hit 295909 damage. We can hit 5.72x20=114 times per second, and shock lasts 2 seconds. So yes we can maintain this high roll somewhat consistently.

How much increased damage would we get?

9% of shapers life=50%. Shaper has 18 million, we are dealing 295909/18000000=1.6% of shapers life in one hit. (1.6/9)x50=8.8. So we can expect to get around 8.8% increased damage vs shaper somewhat consistently, if we could somehow keep frenzy charges, innervate, and wave of conviction up.

In other words, there's no reason to invest in shock effectiveness and elemental proliferation is way easier.

Feel free to change the build to your preference

Contact me in game any time, Ill probably not play much until next league though

Credit to Autopsyzzz off of poeninja, helped me get started
and to sprawdzampoczte for writing the original concept into a guide https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2487766
Last edited by lildudespider3 on Dec 11, 2019, 7:17:14 AM
Last bumped on Jan 8, 2020, 3:37:27 AM
Nice writeup, the hardest part for me is finding the right glorious vanity jewel, I bought a 7306 jewel and it is great for cold builds in the area you suggested but not for this build. Had to reach down to the jewel socket by Acrobatics and it is nice down there for Lightning dmg, 32%+34%+35% Lightning dmg nodes and a 18% mana node, but too many passives have to be invested to get them. Trading with a friend for a 4415 jewel that seems to work in the area suggested in this writeup.
Abelos wrote:
Nice writeup, the hardest part for me is finding the right glorious vanity jewel, I bought a 7306 jewel and it is great for cold builds in the area you suggested but not for this build. Had to reach down to the jewel socket by Acrobatics and it is nice down there for Lightning dmg, 32%+34%+35% Lightning dmg nodes and a 18% mana node, but too many passives have to be invested to get them. Trading with a friend for a 4415 jewel that seems to work in the area suggested in this writeup.

It took me quite a few tries to find a jewel I was satisfied with. When you have currency to spend you can buy all the cheap ones available and then resell them around 20c cheaper so you get most of your money back. Keep track of which ones you have tried. I lost the sheet of paper I had them all written down on unfortunately.

For now as long as your jewel doesn't hurt you too bad(increased projectile speed) its good enough and you can upgrade later.

One thing that would be helpful in this thread is for people to share their timeless jewel seeds that they have tried so we can compile a list of good and bad jewels
Last edited by lildudespider3 on Nov 1, 2019, 3:58:36 PM
Heya, I'm really enjoying this build; thanks for posting it!

Why would you take the +Mana crafted mod instead of Lightning Damage to Spells?

Wouldn't you want your weapon to just be decked out dps?

Added lightning damage is weaker than you might think, ball lightning only adds 40%.

if you check path of building you will see that replacing the mana with added lightning damage results in a loss of ~400 mana and a gain of ~8% dps. IMO this isnt worth it, you would have to make the mana up elsewhere on the build - probably by taking righteous decree on the tree? so you would give up some damage elsewhere- with my gear I would give up annihilation. The result is nearly the exact same though.

Just make sure you check path of building before you craft your staff to ensure it works out for you.

Looking at your build, you don't have any mana on some of your gear so I would definitely go with mana on the staff
Last edited by lildudespider3 on Nov 3, 2019, 1:19:49 PM
Thanks! I am noticing I'm somewhat squishy.

I did get the 20% mana -9% lightning helm but annulled it off.

Switched back to Mind of the Council and I noticed a HUGE difference. Would the best in slot be Mind of the Council with ball lightning extra projectile enchant?

Thanks for the reply; still loving this build!
If it was possible to get a mind of the council with that enchant it would probably be best in slot for all situations yes

I looked for one all league and used the font 100+ times myself but no luck. Mind of the council cant be chanced either.

Try using enduring mana flask over the one you have right now and getting 70% mana regen boot enchant, might be enough for you to be comfortable with a rare helmet.

I dont see the appeal of laviangas spirit at all- a seething or enduring eternal mana flask would be better imo

A leveling guide would be really helpful, especially as a starter build.
Thanks for the awesome build! I am planning to run it in Metamorph.
I have a few questions:

I dont really get why you get the Amplify passive its 2 passives for 20% increased AOE. Isnt it better to get something else like maximum power charges?

What do you think about the new life/ES/mana related uniques in Metamorph like "The Ivory Tower"
and "Crown Of The Inward Eye"
for a build like this? I think Cloak of Defiance and Mind of The Council are still stronger, but I'd like to hear your opinion about it.

And what about some Budget/Leveling gear? Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance!
Ball Lightning scales insanely with aoe. Area nodes help you clear the screen and since ball lightning hits recover ur health makes the build hit more things making it safer. With enough aoe you offscreen and even hit swarming monsters behind you and the projectiles have more reach increasing your ball lightnings uptime. Max power charges is generally for builds that use power charge specific uniques where you are required to get all 3 from the tree. You need to find the right mix of aoe, cast speed, and crit to your liking.

Leveling you can do orb of storms and ball lightning self cast with spell/lightning wands and tabula or go spell totems and respec later. Get all 5 aoe nodes and respec them to crit once you get aoe ascendancy. When u hit aquaducts or maps buy a pledge and a cloak of defiance and 5L them both with jewel prophecy or fuses. 5l pledge will get you into yellow maps where you can start saving for 6l pledge and then your end game pieces.
Last edited by Ciatlov on Dec 11, 2019, 1:53:34 AM

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