[3.10] Self-Cast Ball Lightning Trickster (Cold Conversion)
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Bandits: Kill Alira
Ascendancy Order: Swift Killer > Ghost Dance > Escape Artist > Harness the Void
Keep in mind: PoB calculates Ball Lightning's Damage per bolt; These bolts occur every 150ms while the Ball travels through an enemy. Therefore, PoB's DPS meter is unreliable as it depends on lots of variables like Area of Effect, Projectile Speed, Enemy Size, etc. Use PoB's DPS only as a baseline to calculate how your gear changes impact it. Use this spreadsheet to roughly calculate your DPS. (Create a copy of it on your own Drive to get an editable version.)
Also keep in mind this build makes use of the Call of the Brotherhood ring. This ring makes your spells have 100% chance to Shock Against Frozen Enemies. This means that most likely, you'll also be shocking most enemies for increased damage. I chose to not tick this option in PoB as the Shock amount will vary from enemy to enemy and it is unreliable to calculate it. Just keep it in mind as an extra source of damage.
Hi, I'm Raikkou and welcome to my first build guide!
I'm generally not eager to share my builds as I feel that there are more experienced/smarter people than me out there in regards to passive trees, gearing, etc. However, while I was theorycrafting this build, researching through forums and poe.ninja builds I realized how there is really no one playing something similar. No really self-cast Ball Lightning builds (lots of mines and archmages, with the odd CoC here or there) and no really Ball Lightning Tricksters (which makes sense, as these different playstiles do not make very good use of Trickster's kit). Therefore I decided to share this for fun, so someone who is looking for something similar can get some inspiration or bounce some ideas back and forth. I'll try to explain my ideas behind gearing, gems, and anything that might be worth looking into. Keep in mind that this is only a guide, and as such can be modified to your will.
This build makes use of the Trickster ascendancy for a very fast self-casting playstyle through the use of Swift Killer, while bolstering decent tankiness via Ghost Dance and Escape Artist. Harness the Void tops our damage off while having incredible synergy with our damage conversion through our pair of Call of the Brotherhood rings.
Pros and Cons
+ Very high single-target DPS with good clear speed makes this build very fun to challenge all content with
+ Deceptively tanky, having around 8.5k hybrid EHP plus Immortal Call, Ghost Shrouds and both Life and ES leech
+ Very high Critical Strike chance, meaning our Cold damage will almost always apply chill, freeze and shock ailments alongside constant Herald of Ice explosions
+ Moderate starting cost, having most of it going on our Uniques while having very good scalability through more expensive rares.
- Self-Casting is not for everyone, and even tho this build has high cast speed to ease that, you still have to be standing still to fire your projectiles. Spell Echo also does no good to remedy that. I recommend trying the playstyle before going all-in on expensive gear
- Even tho we're decently tanky, we're not a tank, and as such you have to play carefully. Trickster has tools to remedy getting hit but you should still learn boss fights and how to dodge Conqueror's attacks, and avoid getting yourself in the middle of large packs
- No shield means no way to get Fortify, and using a shield means a severe DPS drop
- Ball Lightning Mines being somewhat meta means more niche gear like helm enchants or hybrid gear might be more expensive. On the other hand, Purposeful Harbinger being also meta means ethical gear is cheaper
TL;DR My Current Gear
Lots of improvements to be made, as the league (and my currency tab) develops.
Yes, for the OCD folks out there, we use two different unique wands. It looks funky. A Void Battery gives us a ton of Spell Damage, while also giving an extra Power Charge for more Crit Chance, damage with Swift Killer, even more Spell Damage with the small node above the notable Instability on the tree, while also having amazing synergy with our second weapon, the Shimmeron, for a ton of Crit Multiplier. This pair seems to be the best combination, as two Void Batteries is straight up less damage for more money, while two Shimmerons is more damage at the cost of more degen via its mod "200 Lightning Damage taken per second per Power Charge if your Skills have dealt a Critical Strike Recently". You can go for it but imo it is not worth as we have plenty of damage with only one.
As with most rare gear in this build, make sure to get as much Life and Elemental Resistances here. As we're a hybrid build, be sure to get a base with high Energy Shield.
Luxury modifiers here include Nearby Enemies have -9% to Cold Resistance, which can now only be acquired on an iLvl 85 Redeemer-Influenced Helmet. You can also go for a Shaper-Influenced Helmed to get mods like Added Cold damage to Spells, Added Lightning damage to Spells and Increased Area of Effect.
For Helmet Enchantments you can grab anything Ball lightning related. Increased Damage or Area of Effect will be best for damage, while Ball Lightning fires an Extra Projectile will feel better for mapping. You can also go for other quality of life enchants like Hatred or Herald of Ice reduced Mana Reservation, or even Assassin's Mark curse effect or Dash distance.
As we're making use of Escape Artist, our best bet is a hybrid Evasion/Energy Shield body armor. Desirable mods here are both Flat and Increased Evasion and Energy shield, alongside a free Prefix to craft Gain 10% of Maximum Life as extra Maximum Energy Shield. This mod can be unlocked by unveiling items with the mod "Gravicius' Veiled" with the NPC Jun. You can also just look for anyone willing to craft it for you on global/trade chats.
I crafted mine by just buying an already 6-linked Blood Raiment, getting its Quality up with Perfect Fossils and spamming Dense Fossils. I couldn't get good rolls with a free prefix and you can see here that's around a 400 Energy Shield loss. If you find yourself in the same situation but still have a spare Suffix, make sure to fill up Elemental Resistances or craft Quality on it as that gives it a little stat bump.
(My current chest without the hybrid Evasion+ES/Block chance mod for a free prefix for crafting)
Again, make sure to get as much Life and Elemental Resistances here, while also looking for an Energy Shield base. Be sure to look for a free Suffix to craft % Increased Attack and Cast Speed while Focussed. This will grant a Focus button on your hotbar which, being free of charge and on a small cooldown, will give you huge amounts of cast speed on demand. Great for both mapping and boss melting.
Luxury modifiers here include the temple mod Increased Damage with Hits against Chilled Enemies, which will just barely edge out its Shock->Crit Chance counterpart. You can also get absolutely tons of good Influence mods here, like Shaper's Projectile Damage and Cast Speed, Redeemer's Cold or Lightning Damage if you've dealt a Critical Strike Recently, Warlord's Spell Damage, +1 to Maximum Frenzy Charges or Culling Strike, or even Hunter's Chance to Unnerve Enemies on hit.
Again, make sure to get as much Life and Elemental Resistances here, while also looking for an Energy Shield base and good Movement Speed.
The best luxury modifier here is by far Hunter's Tailwind if you have dealt a Critical Strike Recently. Tailwind gives us 10% more Action Speed, which is amazing feeling buff not only for Movement and Cast Speed, but also for shortening some of our animations which is much welcome on a Self-Casting build.
You can also look for some good survivability mods like Redeemer's Chaince to gain Elusive on Critical Strike or Elder's Chance to gain an Endurance Charge on kill.
Again, make sure to get as much Life and Elemental Resistances here. You can get also get both flat and increased Energy Shield. This is also a very good source of some cheap Critical Strike Multiplier.
I'd go for bases that give Dexterity like Onyx, Citrine or Jade, but if you have a Dex mod anywhere you can get any base.
Here we can get a very unique mod, % of Cold Damage leeched as life. This is the only source of Spell Damage leeched as life in the game, barring the Life Leech gem which would be a terrible link as it offers no damage multiplier. This allow us to leech both Life and Energy Shield at the same time, which is awesome as we're splitting all incoming damage between them with our Timeless Jewel(more info in its section). You can only get this mod from temple or Redeemer-Influence.
Luxury modifiers here include +1 to Level of All Intelligence or Lightning Gems, along with a variety of Reduce Mana Reservation mods or Elemental Penetration mods.
You can honestly choose to Annoint anything you'd like. I went for Nimbleness as a cheap option for more Cast Speed, but you can get good defensive options like Constitution, Foresight or Unnatural Calm, or even more damage options like Tranquility, Heart of Ice or any extra Frenzy Charge.
These are the core of the build. And by that I mean, they're completely optional, but if you don't go for these then it becomes entirely another build x)
Two Call of the Brotherhood allow us to convert almost all our Lightning damage into Cold damage, allowing us to get big chills and freezes while still letting us Shock with spells, and boosting our Herald of Ice explosions for next level clearing. Also, Cold damage is cooler, if you know what I'm saying.
IMPORTANT: Make sure to utilize 20x Turbulent Catalysts on each of the rings, as they raise the 40% Damage Conversion mod to 48%. Without the catalysts, you will only be converting 80% of your Lightning damage, while with them you'll be converting 96%. They're absolutely worth it.
Side note: If you're playing on Standard (unethical) you can get Legacy versions of the ring, for 50% conversion each, totaling 100%.
Again, make sure to get as much Life and Elemental Resistances here. You can get also get flat Energy Shield.
You can go for different bases here, like Stygian Vise, Leather Belt or Crystal Belt.
Just like with Gloves, you can get tons of very good influence mods here, like Shaper's Increased Elemental Damage or Increased Spell Damage or Cast Speed during any Flask Effect, Crusader's Increased Maximum Energy Shield, Increased Lightning Damage or Increased Spell Damage During any Flask Effect, Redeemer's Increased Damage with Hits against Chilled Enemies and Hunter's Flask Charge when you deal a Critical Strike or Increased Cast Speed during any Flask Effect.
Viable Cheap Uniques are Bisco's Leash for Rampage or The Flow Untethered for even more Cast Speed and Action Speed.
Flasks and Jewels
Diamond Flask is mandatory, as we're a Crit-based build. It allows us to reach near 100% Critical Strike Chance.
Atziri's Promise is basically a mini Harness the Void. Non-Chaos Damage as Extra Chaos Damage has incredible synergy with conversion, and our build converting Lightning to Cold damage means we basically take advantage of this mod twice. Look for high Elemental Damage rools and ignore the Physical one.
Dying Sun gives us 2 extra projectiles, which is amazing for clear, and a good little bit of Area of Effect that we don't get anywhere else in the build.
Quicksilver Flask for more movespeed, duh. If you feel like you're fast enough with boots, Onslaught and Tailwind, this is optional.
Enduring Mana Flask is likewise, optional. This gives us basically unlimited mana for peace of mind, but if you have an Enlighten, or any amount of Reduced Mana Reservation anywhere on the build this is relly not necessary. Despite that, it still gives us another Suffix for important mods which I list down below.
For your non-unique flasks, you can get any Prefixes you like, but there are a few Suffixes that range from mandatory to very useful. For this reason I don't like running around with all Uniques (the infamous Gatorade™ setup).
of Staunching will get rid of bleed and Corrupted blood.
of Heat will get rid of Chill and Freeze which are extremely common on boss fights such as Shaper/Elder, Redeemer and Sirus.
of Warding will protect you from curses that are rolled as mods on maps.
of Adrenaline will give you more movespeed, for zoom zooms.
of Quickening for extra Cast Speed.
of Effciency if you don't want to use a mana flask but are still having mana problems.
Some other options are:
The Wise Oak gives us penetration, which is sparse in our build. If you're running it, make sure that your uncapped Cold Resistance is the highest among your 3 Elemental Resistances so you can get Cold Penetration. Also be aware: Dying Sun gives you 45% Fire Resistance (whitout any extra flask effect), so if you're running both you have to get at least 45% more uncapped Cold over Fire Resistance, otherwise when you activate both flasks you'll get Fire Penetration instead.
Quartz Flask is another defensive option with an open Suffix.
This is the crown jewel of our build. A Glorious Vanity, Timeless Jewel with the mod Bathed in the blood of # sacrificed in the name of Doryani will transform any nearby keystone nodes into Corrupted Soul, which grants us 20% of Maximum Life as Extra Maximum Energy Shield. This is amazing for hybrid builds as it alone can give you upwards of 2000 Energy Shield. It comes with a supposedly "downside" that 50% of all Non-Chaos damage bypasses Energy Shield. However, we make use of that to our advantage. By splitting virtually every incoming damage into both we're allowed to leech Life and Energy Shield at the same time, effectively doubling our leech rate. It also allows us to keep benefits of Ghost Dance and Escape Artist basically indefinitely, seeing as if you don't have Energy Shield you very probably also don't have Life. RIP.
The actual downside to this jewel is that it effectively erases nearby non-keystone nodes, replacing them with random passives and effects. For that reason I chose the Jewel Socket to the left of the Witch starting area, grabbing Mind over Matter as our transformed keystone. You can choose to move your jewel around and see if any of the random passives are interesting, and change your tree accordingly.
Remember that PoB does not support Timeless Jewels, so if you want to calculate its bonuses you'll have to input them manually. You can use "Allocated Small Passive Skills in Radius grant Nothing" and "Notable Passive Skills in Radius grant Nothing" to erase current node effects and input your own ones.
(my current jewel in PoB)
For Regular Jewels you can grab a multitude of good stats like Life, Energy Shield, Cast Speed or Critical Strike Multiplier. 3 mod jewels give around the same damage as an extra Frenzy Charge while being more consistent against bosses, while 4 mod jewels are about as much damage as an extra Power Charge by being extra expensive.
You can use this trade link to quickly look for cheap Crit Multi + Cast Speed jewels.
Gems & Links
Ball Lightning > Slower Projectiles > Spell Echo > Hypothermia > Energy Leech > Inspiration
Ball Lightning is our main skill. Try to get a Level 21 gem, as Spell Skills scale massively with Gem Level.
Slower Projectiles make our balls pass through enemies much slower, allowing them to proc more lightning bolts per cast. This is not a huge DPS increase in PoB but it's probably our best gem for bossing. You can swap this for Faster Projectiles for mapping but honestly, I hate swapping gems and the slower ones don't bother me that much.
Spell Echo is a massive DPS increase. It might feel sluggish to be locked into its animation (you'll always cast 2 balls instead of one and can't walk/dash during it, but we remedy that with lots of Cast Speed.
Hypothermia is also a big DPS increase, and enemies are always either Chilled, Shocked, or both, thus always granting us the gem's bonus.
Energy Leech will not only gives us, well, Energy Leech, but also a bunch of damage. Since Shimmeron is always damaging us, we're always leeching Energy Shield for the biggest multiplier even while not being directly hit.
Inspiration is wonderful. More Elemental Damage, Increased Crit Chance, and even reduces our mana cost. With a similar sixth link DPS-wise such as Controlled Destruction, our Ball Lightning would cost 100 mana and have less Crit Chance. With this it costs around half that while increasing Crit Chance. Just can't go wrong with this one.
Avoid Concentrated Effect at all costs, cause even tho Ball Lightning has the AoE tag, it does not deal Area damage, only Projectile Damage.
Zealotry > Herald of Ice > Onslaught > Enlighten
Zealotry is the best aura for this build. More Spell Damage, Increased Crit Chance, plus some very good Watcher's Eye mods to boot. The Consecrated Ground is just a bonus.
Herald of Ice is just the most satisfying clearing skill in the game. Be sure to raise this gem's level, as it increased global Cold Damage.
Onslaught linked to Herald of Ice gives us Onslaught while mapping, as the Herald explosions damaging enemies will proc it.
Enlighten is absolutely not required, however a Level 3 one is very cheap and it greatly expands your mana pool.
Orb of Storms > Curse on Hit > Frostbite >
(Bonechill OR Power Charge on Crit OR Elemental Weakness)
Orb of Storms serves as catalyst for some of our damaging supports while also dealing a lot of DPS itself. You could swap this for Vortex for an instant cast version but that's a bit of a range loss and a decent damage loss.
Curse on Hit will allow our Orb of Storms to curse enemies with linked curses.
Frostbite is our curse of choice, as it supplements one of our build deficiencies which is lack of penetration. It also works defensively due to the extra chance do freeze enemies. Projectile Weakness is better in terms of straight DPS, however it comes with a much steeper Dexterity cost.
Bonechill is an interesting gem. It boosts all Cold Damage against enemies chilled by Orb of Storms. The damage varies with chill effect, however if we take a baseline amount of 10%, plus 44% increased effect from the gem itself, totaling 14% chill effect, it amounts to enemies chilled by the trigger skill take 14% increased damage.
Against bosses, you can swap Bonechill for Power Charge on Crit for better Power Charge upkeep. If you chose to annoint Whispers of Doom or have an Extra Curse Chest, you may choose to socket the extra Elemental Weakness here.
Dash > Second Wind > Arcane Surge
Dash is my movement skill of choice. You can honestly use any of them, most would pick Flame Dash, I just think it's smoother and with the 3.10 buff it is a lot of fun with:
Second Wind, which grants Dash a second charge and allows it to recharge just like Flame Dash.
Arcane Surge will give you more damage when you dash. We're always dashing. Seems like a no-brainer. Make sure to keep this gem at a low level. Keep an eye on the total mana you have to spend and sync it with your triggering skill's mana cost.
Cast when Damage Taken > Immortal Call > Wave of Conviction
Cast when Damage Taken will trigger linked skills as soon as you take the amount of damage stated in the gem. Make sure to keep this at a low level since our triggered skills do not scale that much with level, and also make sure to keep them level-synced, as CWDT will not trigger any skills that require a higher level than it. A 2-4-8 in this setup is a sure way to make it work.
Immortal Call doesn't last long but will prevent bursts of damage and getting 100'd to zero in a blink, allowing you to reposition with your movement skill or proc panic defensive flasks.
Wave of Conviction will hit enemies and debuff them with Cold Exposure, reducing their defense. I have no problem linking it here because, as I see it, if you're not taking damage then you don't exactly need the extra firepower. You can choose to unlink it and self-cast it at your disposition.
Precision + Lightning Golem + Vaal Righteous Fire
At last, since we're not strapped for sockets, we're allowed some extra final touches.
Precision has been nerfed in 3.10, but it is still literally free Crit Chance. You can also get powerful Watcher's Eye mods for it.
Lightning Golem is free Cast Speed. It will also race you for who dies more to Delirium.
Vaal Righteous Fire is a great "press for more power" button. It'll instantly grant you More Spell Damage for boss fights and other tricky situations.
Lastly, if you have a banging Watcher's Eye you can also look to socket Clarity here.
I have no videos for the build, as I play on a mediocre setup, but if you'd like to try this build and record it, feel free to link me and I'll gladly link them here.
All in all, I'm having a blast playing it and if you decided to try it I hope you have fun too.
This has been Raikkou, your friendly neighborhood legendary electric dog, cheers!
Last edited by raikkou on Apr 3, 2020, 4:10:27 AM
Last bumped on May 19, 2020, 10:26:26 AM
on Apr 3, 2020, 3:47:28 AM
I'm gonna test your build. I was looking for a self cast BALL LIGHTNING and your build looks like I find it !
PS : I add some jewels on ur tree (u had only 2 ^^)
Stay tunned i will give you my feedback
Logiks the electric guy ;)
on Apr 6, 2020, 3:07:31 AM
Hey, hope you are having fun with it! I indeed went light on the cluster jewels but you can experiment with what you like. I think the knockback for projectiles one is really good against bosses, for example. Remains to be seen if they're worth the travel points.
Last edited by raikkou on Apr 10, 2020, 6:19:31 PM
on Apr 10, 2020, 6:19:04 PM
Yeah i'm havving fun, I change more things because i Had troubles and issues with citadel bosses.
Indeed I Often run them with 0 power charges so i swap the ernegy leech gem for Power charge on critical, it gives u same amout on dammage and u can generate on BIG Bosses ^^ this is just personnal I guess.
ALso i went for a large cluster jewel with those passives :
- Doryani's Lesson (0.2 % elemental damage leeched as life / 25 % elemental damage )
- Snowstorm (Gain 10 % of lightning damage as extra cold damage against chilled ennemies)
- Blanketed snow (Damage penetrates 10% cold against chilled ennemies)
And the last thing I like is to put a LMP to map , I personally Hate Slower on mapping and faster proj is just bad to proc all the Hits of Ball lightnings.
Anyway good job for this build, i'm having FUN !! lunch millions of ball is just so muuch satysfying.
on Apr 11, 2020, 4:20:16 AM
how are you sustaining charges on bosses?
on Apr 12, 2020, 4:36:18 AM
This was exactly what I was looking for!
I have a lot of work now, But ill try this build asap
on Apr 15, 2020, 12:45:23 AM
I'm thinking that maybe is better to use Storm Brand. With the range i think it will be more comfortable, what do you think?
What about using GMP / LMP / Faster casting? 1,2 or 3? xD. For mapping or boss
Last edited by Sanfear on Apr 16, 2020, 3:41:46 PM
on Apr 16, 2020, 3:15:27 PM
The critical charge to keep up are power charges, which you get through Power Charge on Crit via Orb of Storms. Due to our high crit chance they're basically always up. For frenzy charges, I though about swapping something for Storm Burst but honestly you're better off using the time to DPS with Ball Lightning anyway. Cast Speed for both BL and Dash without Frenzies is good enough against bosses.
Hi! Storm Brand indeed has more range and sticks better against bosses that like to move a lot, however the critical line here is "Using a lightning skill while inside the orb's cloud unleashes additional bolts", meaning if you cast Ball Lightning while inside of it it'll proc again, basically making OoS zap rate the same as your BL cast rate. It may not look much but it can easily be another million DPS vs stationary targets.
For mapping I generally used Faster Projectiles, but sometimes didn't even change out of Slower Proj against hard maps just to get a little extra oomph on the damage. I didn't feel like GMP/LMP was necessary with Dying Sun, but if you're on a budget or just like more balls you can definitely go for it!
Last edited by raikkou on Apr 17, 2020, 3:40:16 PM
on Apr 17, 2020, 3:37:24 PM
Thank you Raikkou!!
on Apr 18, 2020, 3:40:51 PM
Anyone got a video of this build in action? What kind of budget is your current setup?
on Apr 20, 2020, 2:53:43 PM