Have you ever wanted to consume and recover your entire mana pool every second? Well, now is your chance to play a non Storm Brand Archmage build. This plays very similarly to Indigon builds, but without the ramp time.
This build idea came from wanting to see if archmage was playable on non-duration based skills, i.e. not storm brand/blade vortex/orb of storms. So if you want to be able to sustain a 3k+ mana cost skill, you're going to need a lot of mana regen, by a lot I mean way more than you've ever had on another build. The only way to get that much regen is through abusing mana flasks, which is done best as a Pathfinder through stacking flask effectiveness.
As a note, this guide is meant to focus on how to build an Archmage Pathfinder. You can use whatever skill you want with this. I chose to run Arc because I like the mapping feel of the skill, however I'm not the biggest fan of it for bossing. Archmage will naturally scale best with lightning spells, but you can use other spells. It scales best with spells that have higher effectiveness of added damage as archmage gives flat lightning damage.
Pro's and Con's
+Does all content
+Tanky, 7k+ Effective life pool w/ 50% Mind Over Matter
+Regenerate over half your life pool per second
+Regenerate your entire mana pool in a second
+Permanent Righteous Fire
+Cheap to start (1 to 2ex will get you through early red maps)
+Works with any non-channeling spell, unfortunately it's impossible to get enough mana regen to sustain a 6L archmage divine ire or even a 3L one
+Fantastic lab runner (~200ms + Regen to ignore lab traps)
-3 Map Mods are iffy to run
-Expensive to min/max
-Not league start viable (requires a few specific uniques to work)
-Painful to level as
-Storm Brand Heirophant is cheaper and does more damage
Just the Basics
Theorycraft PoB: https://pastebin.com/7eL4ZfeQ
Bandits: Kill all
We need more passives.
Major: Soul of the Brine King or Soul of Lunaris
Minor: Soul of Garukhan or Soul of Shakari
Don’t run (or how to counter):
No Regen (lose ~45% of mana recovery which slows down the clear, life recovery is not regen thus we still regen life). In order to counter this you have to run the map slower and be more careful about not reaching full mana.
Reduced Life Recovery. This completely negates the life recovery from ‘The Agnostic’, you'll have to run a life flask or a zerphis to counter this.
Elemental Reflect: Just use sextants to counter this, not worth changing our gear to run this mod
Life and Mana Flasks are instant (Sextant Mod): This makes most of our mana regen happen instantly, since our mana flask restores 3x our mana we end up wasting about 2/3 of our flask charges. Just roll over the sextant.
Gear Stat Priority
Resists (until capped) > Mana Recovery Rate > Mana Regeneration > Flask Mana Recovery Rate > Flat Life > Flat Mana > %Life > % Mana > % Spell Damage > Cast Speed
Mind Over Matter (MoM)
This is our primary defensive layer. We shift between 30% to 50% of damage to mana. This assumes we have that mana available. Since we are stacking a lot of mana, our mana pool is always going to be larger than our life pool and we dont dont need to be worried about maintaining a life to mana ratio for optimal MoM. This leaves us with needing to focus on mana recovery to make sure we have the mana available to be a defensive layer.
This is the keystone we get from a Militant Faith that is converted with High Templar Venarius. This sets our ES to 0, however we sacrifice 20% of our mana per second to recover that much life. This means if we have 10k mana, we would sacrifice 2k mana to recover 2k life every second. This only triggers when you are not at full life and only for as much life as you're missing. Meaning that if we are missing 500 life, you will only sacrifice 500 mana. Functionally this means we need to be able to regen at least 20% of our mana pool every second, which is trivial with an enduring mana flask.
Keep in mind that the life we gain through Agnostic is considered ‘life recovery’ which is essentially a stronger form of life regen (same type we get from life flasks). This means we are technically able to run no regen maps, however the reduced life recovery map mod is impossible to do without a life flask (or a Zerphi’s Last Breath; it doesn't matter if you recover life 60% slower if you recover your entire life pool in half a second).
Mana Recovery Rate
Mana Recovery Rate is a multiplier on our base mana regeneration rate. This makes it the single most important stat to get in the build as we need as much mana recovery as possible. This affects the mana we regen from all sources, such as mana flasks, base regen, mana leech, and arcane surge.
We are able to get 10% from the base tree off of ‘Aqueous Accelerant’ and then another 20% from stacking four instances of ‘Liquid Inspiration’ on cluster jewels. We then get another 30% from the clarity Watcher’s Eye mod for a total of 60% increased Mana Recovery Rate. We are able to get another 24% from a shaper/redeemer belt with catalysts and another 15% from a shaper chest for a total of 99%. You're technically able to get a bit more mana recovery rate by using a ‘Tempered Mind’, however the build is extremely starved for jewel sockets and all the sockets we do use are extremely competitive.
This gives the build its damage based on the mana cost of the skill. Note that Archmage gives damage based on the tooltip mana cost of the skill, not the actual mana spent on the skill. This gives different skills ways of effectively cheating free damage out of archmage. For duration based skills like storm brand and blade vortex it means you can cast the skill then socket archmage to get the damage without paying the mana cost (this is part of the reason you can use archmage + indigion in strom brand builds I EXPECT THIS INTERACTION TO BE REMOVED WITH PATCH 3.11). For non-duration based skills like arc this means we can use spell echo to get free casts of the skill. Unfortunately this means we have to use spell echo in the build in order to get the most damage out of the build (~half my deaths are to spell echo’s locked in second cast, it's going to get you killed). The free cast we get on spell echo is 70% more cast speed, 40% more mana cost (~14% more damage for my build), an effective halfing of our mana cost(ie we technically can double the mana cost of our skill, in game testing seems to be around 80% more mana cost). Going from a 5l to a 6l w/ spell echo is ~90% more damage for me.
Passive Tree / Ascendancy
Grab all the flask effect nodes on the tree along with ‘Elemental Overload’, a notable near a jewel socket for ‘The Agnostic’, an outer ring jewel socket for a large cluster jewel, life, mana, and mana regeneration.
Level 90 Endgame Tree:
We grab as many small nodes as possible for flask effect along with more flask charges, elemental ailment immunity, some elemental pen and some reduced elemental damage taken. IMO an additional 5% flask effect is worth more than 15% movement speed so I grab another small node over Nature’s Adrenaline.
You want as much flat mana, spell/lightning damage, cast speed, and mana regeneration as you can get.
Added levels to spells and flat added spell damage generally dont scale your damage well because archmage adds so much flat damage already. Since the build is non-crit we dont need to pick up any here which helps with the cost. However, getting some crit chance for spells here will help with the uptime on Elemental Overload.
Search filter for budget options:
As much flat mana, spell/lightning damage, flat life, and mana regeneration as you can get. Getting elemental resistance and cast speed are nice bonuses as well.
Mistwall is a special mention here as it allows the build to get alot of block chance. However for life and damage a rare shield will outclass Mistwall very quickly.
Search filter for budget options (craft on missing mana/life/spell damage): https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Delirium/kWz2Mw0T5
Crown of the Inward Eye is BiS for damage. Cheap (perfectly rolled one ~10c at most points in a league) and gives the build a lot of the % damage its missing off the tree and other gear.
However a well rolled shaper and crusader rare with nearby enemies have -9% lightning resistance, % mana regeneration, and %maximum mana may be able to compete.
Getting an enchant that matches with your main skill is a plus, but either Arcane Cloak, Clarity % reduced mana reservation, Conductivity effect, or wave of Conviction - Elemental Resistance enchants are also beneficial.
Other noteworthy starting helmets are ‘Mind of the Council’ and ‘Mindspiral’. However both are usually about the same price as Crown of the Inward Eye and don't provide any life.
Look for as much flat mana as you can afford, the %es/evasion roll isn't overly important. Preferably a 6-Link to begin with but a 5-Link will work for doing white/yellow maps, but you will need the mana multiplier/more damage from your sixth link to feel like you have enough damage for t16’s and endgame bosses.
Essence Worm is used to get Wrath into the build, hard to beat ~18% more damage on rare ring. Although the defensive bonus you get from more life/mana/mana regeneration may be worth it.
For rare rings get lots of life and mana regeneration along with as much resistance as you can get. Either try to get t1 mana/%max mana on the slot or go for the crafted flat mana/damage taken gained as mana over 4 seconds.
Remember to fertile catalyst your rare rings for more mana/life/mana regen.
Search filter for budget options: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Delirium/0YrKKa7Fg
A perfect % mana roll is prefered with as high a mana regeneration roll as you can get. Since you’ll end up putting fertile catalysts and a gold oil anoint on this, it's worth spending the currency on a good roll. Anoint with Mind Drinker to start off with and when you can afford it, anoint Mana Flows.
Get as much elemental resistances, life, and mana as you can. Getting over 120% total elemental resistance here makes getting other gear slots easier.
Getting cast speed, unnerved, or %spell damage is a nice addition for the build.
Search filter for budget options: https://www.pathofexile.com/trade/search/Delirium/oakKpWril
For endgame we are aiming to grab Omeyocans or Skyforths, however rare boots are also viable here. Omeyocans give permanent onslaught along with a lot of dodge/% mana, everything on these are great but onslaught and dodge are obtainable on other gear. Such as on an Abyss Jewel on your belt or dodge through ‘No Witnesses’ on a cluster jewel. Skyforths get you stun immunity, a large amount of flat mana, and more consistent uptime on Elemental Overload.
A rare boots with flat mana / flat life / movement speed / elemental resists is also a good option.
Whichever choice you go for, make sure you run uber lab to get the ‘Mana regeneration if you’ve cast a spell recently’ enchant.
Get as much life/mana as you can here. I recommend trying to balance resistances without using this slot. One of the core upgrades we need here is a belt with mana recovery rate (shaper/redeemer mod), along with mana flask recovery rate. It becomes very expensive to get those two mods with life/mana and resistance and as such is often cheaper to drop the resistance in favor of grabbing them on other gear.
Watcher’s Eye with ‘#% increased Mana Recovery Rate while affected by Clarity’. While you do want the Clarity MoM mod also, the Mana Recovery rate mod is more important to start off with.
Militant Faith that is converted by High Templar Venarius. This gives us ‘The Agnostic’ keystone to replace either ‘Mind over Matter’ or ‘Elemental Equilibrium’. This allows the build to have to regen over half of our life pool second. The devotion mods don’t change when the jewel is divined which makes it easier to get the mods you want on notables within the jewel range (although the converted mod will). Make sure that ‘Quick Recovery’, Arcanist’s Dominion’, and ‘Essence Extraction’ are not changed. All three of those notables are useful to the build. Make sure to get one that has the mod ‘4% increased Elemental Damage per 10 Devotion’ on it. In addition getting the mod ‘Regenerate 0.6 Mana per Second per 10 Devotion’, is BiS, but this mod combo is very rare (~.5% of the militant faith market at the time of writing). In addition, grabbing another Militant Faith that also has the ‘1% reduced Mana Cost of Skills per 10 Devotion’ makes it a lot easier to tweak the mana cost of your skills. There are other strong mods to consider here if you can't afford the elemental damage + mana regen combo. You can view the entire list through the wiki or by typing ‘per 10 devotion’ into the mod search on the trade site.
Healthy Mind, the higher the roll the better. This is the best place to get the jewel corruption ‘Corrupted Blood cannot be inflicted on you’, however the build has so much regen in it that you don't really need it.
2x Fevered Minds, get as much %Spell Damage as you can.
1x Large Cluster Jewel (Lightning or Elemental with 8 passives):
Must have 2 Jewel Sockets + Scintillating Idea, getting an addition 2 notables on this makes the position of the notables work out better.
Good notables include: Disorienting Display, Inspired Oppression, Doryani’s Lesson, Prismatic Heart, Supercharge,and Thunderstruck. BIS is Disorienting Display, Inspired Oppression, Scintillating Idea and 2 Jewel Sockets.
2x Medium Cluster Jewels (Flask Duration with 4 or 5 passives):
Must have Liquid Inspiration, Spiked Concoction, and a Jewel Socket.
Good passive effects are %Elemental Resistance, Mana Regeneration, Chaos Resist, and Flask charges gained.
2x Small Cluster Jewels (%Mana with 2 passives):
Must have Liquid Inspiration.
Good passive effects are Flat Life, Flat Mana, % Damage, Increased Effect, Mana Regeneration, %Elemental Resistance, and Chaos Resistance. At very high levels (96+) it’s possible that a 3 passive jewel is better.
The Mana Flask will depend on the amount of mana you can consume. The fastest regeneration rate one is a Catalysed Divine Mana Flask > Concentrated Divine Mana Flask > Enduring Divine Mana Flask. The divine flask has a higher regeneration rate than the eternal flask which makes it better for the build. Although an Enduring Eternal Mana Flask can be very helpful during longer boss fights like Shaper/Uber Elder/Sirus. The Best suffix is quickening
Ultimately you’ll want all Flasks to be Hillock quality up to 26%.
Other/5th Flask Options
If you want way too much life recovery, go for ‘Zerphi’s Last Breath’, seriously you’ll be able to recover your life 2x your life pool per second with a perfectly rolled Zerphi’s. Who needs a life flask with that that much life recovery. However if you mana pool ever gets full then you'll lose the buff, so make sure the flask doesn't have any quality.
If you want more consistent block chance go for Rumi’s Concoction.
If you want more damage go for a Penetration Vessel of the Vinktar. This gets us a guaranteed shock on enemies, penetration, and some leech. A nice bonus is this shock means we gain 100% increased flask charges from ‘Veteran Bowyer’ which also means you can use Elemental Focus Support in your main link setup without the downside.
If you want more reduced Elemental Damage Taken go for Wise Oak. Note that you’ll need to have triple balanced resistances or have balanced fire/cold resistance that is lower than lightning resistance for the penetration.
If you want more chaos resistance, go for Atziri’s Promise. This also gets a bit of extra chaos damage and some leech.
Basic Support Link Setups
Arcane Cloak (3L in Shield or Weapon)
Second wind for faster cooldown recovery and increased duration for longer effect of the buff and shield granted by Arcane Cloak. Make sure to use Arcane Cloak when above 95% mana pool for the largest possible shield without risking reaching full mana pool while not using an Enduring mana flask. For a larger buff you can add in a lvl 1 20quality archmage to increase the mana consumed and make this setup a 4L.
Vaal Righteous Fire (2L + 1L in Shield or Weapons)
Empower for more %more spell damage off the buff.
Flame Dash (3L + 1L in Gloves/Helmet/Boots)
As long as your Flame Dash costs more than 400 mana you'll get consistent proccing of max level arcane surge through archmage. Alternatively Arcane Surge can be linked to Arcane Cloak in a 4l however, arcane surge will not be permanently up. Or Arcane Surge can be used in your main damage link, but another support gem will be able to provide 20 more damage over arcane surge. Second wind can be used in this setup for a 4l if you want more flame dashes.
Cast When Damage Taken Curse/Exposure Setup (4L in Gloves/Boots/Helmet)
CwDt is at lvl1 since 500 damage is procced after mitigation such as MoM. Extra 39% lightning damage penetration against tougher enemies like bosses. For more damage swap Curse on hit + Cast When Damage Taken for Awakened Curse on Hit + Elemental Weakness for an additional 13% damage penetration against bosses.
Cast When Damage Taken Elemental Overload/Frenzy Charge Generation (4L in Gloves/Boots/Helmet)
CwDt is at lvl1 since 500 damage is procced after mitigation such as MoM. Helps keep up Elemental Overload while using Controlled Destruction while also giving us access to frenzy charges. Vaal Cold Snap gives up access to frenzy charges on demand along with an AOE slow for a slight amount of defense.
Wrath (1L Ring)
Used in an essence worm for another more damage multiplier.
Main Damage Setup (6L in body armour)
The skill you use is entirely up to you, turns out when you give a spell 4k+ flat lightning damage it ends up doing pretty decent damage. For my build I went with Arc.
IMO dont level as this build, its painfully slow as you are not near any damage until level about level 31 when you get archmage. However you can become functionally unkillable between grabbing ‘The Agnostic’, ‘Mind over Matter’, and ‘Phase Acrobatic’. I leveled in this way with about 5ex worth of twink gear (6wL Skin of the Loyal, Seven Leagues). Level 20 through 30 were very slow and I wasn't able to take damage on my tree until ~level 40. Overall it took me 9 hours to reach maps (~lvl66) and another hour to reach lvl 80 by leveling with Esh Breachstones.
If your deadset on leveling as this build, leveling trees are in the theorycraft pob, but just remember you were warned.
I would recommend leveling as another build, such as hollow palm, it's super fast and can be relatively cheap to buy twink gear for. Once you get to maps and about level 70 you can fully respec into the archmage build.
For solving for total mana recovery per second:
Mana Regen + (Mana Recovered by Mana Flask / Mana Flask Duration) => Total Mana Recovery Rate per Second (TMR/s)
For solving for suggested mana cost:
(TMR - (Total Mana/5))/(Cast Rate / 2) => Floor Mana Cost (FMC)
(TMR))/(Cast Rate / 2) => Ceiling Mana Cost (CMC)
In reality this is more of a mana cost floor as it takes into account the mana regen lost to ‘The Agnostic’ if you need to recover half or more of your life pool. While mapping a mana cost around 80% to 90% of your CMC seems to feel really smooth while mapping. During bosses ~95% feels best to me. If you exceed your CMC you need to get more mana regen or reduce the cost of your skill.
Scaling the Build
Get more mana regen > more mana > more % damage (spell/lightning/elemental) > cast speed
So you’ve started playing the build, but your damage is pretty bad against bosses and your mana regen is too low, what do you do? To start off with the build you should be looking to have a mana pool of 7k, 3k life, and 5.5k mana regen with a flask up. This is very easy to achieve with an enduring mana flask. On paper this lets us sustain a skill mana cost of 2.7k with spell echo and a cast speed of ~4cps, in reality this seems to be around 2.2k to 2.4k (about 80% to 90% of the max). This should get you to around 1mil damage dps on a 6l skill spell, but your mileage will vary based on the skill.
In general we are aiming to be able to just over sustain our mana consumption. This mean that while sitting in your hideout you should able to regenerate your full mana pool while:
Arcane Cloak -> Flame Dash (for Arcane Surge) -> Pop mana Flask -> Cast Main skill twice -> Reposition -> Cast -> Flame Dash/ Use mana flask to sustain their buff durations
This allows us to fluidly move around a map while making sure we arn't going to run out mana while sustain the Agnostic/MoM.
IF you're not at this point your first upgrades should be to get the clarity watcher’s eye w/ mana recovery rate and then a 6l Cloak of Defiance.
After this point you need to increase your mana cost on your main skill to get more damage (along with getting more %spell/lightning/elemental damage on gear/tree). You have several ways of doing this. The easiest way to do this is to add more ‘Fevered Mind’ into the build (I have the jewel sockets to add 2 currently, but it is possible to add 3). The next way is to get a larger mana pool as Archmage’s cost is based on your unreserved mana pool. So more flat mana/%mana on gear or more % mana on your tree.
Archmage gives up a load of flat damage which makes grabbing flat/% mana the most effective way of getting flat damage into the build. Flat added lightning damage is not worth grabbing on gear as it competes with flat mana/ %mana/ life/ %spell damage rolls on gear which are always going to be more valuable. However this means you generally lack % damage increases on tree/gear. Thus getting gear with higher % damage rolls is the one of the better ways of getting damage.
This brings us to the point of playing the build as a pathfinder, we need a lot of mana regen to sustain higher and higher mana costs that we have for our main skill. About 55% of your mana regen will ultimately come from your mana flask. As you need more mana regen move from an Enduring Eternal Mana Flask -> Enduring Divine Mana Flask -> Concentrated Divine Mana Flask -> Catalyzed Divine Mana Flask. The Catalyzed will regen your mana extremely fast if your pool is too small which can lead you to wasting flask charges on the reusing the flask too often. (With Essence Extraction + Nature’s Boon we naturally regen 4 flask charges every 3 seconds, which gets buffed up to 6 flask charges from our flask charges gained modifier. Since our mana flask costs 6 charges to use and lasts 4 seconds, we effectively have permanent uptime if you use at least 3 seconds of each mana flask.)
It ends up being better to over invest into mana regen before increasing the mana cost of our main skill. Look at the math section at how high you can push your mana cost with whatever your mana regen is at.
I'll add and update videos as I make them. Don't expect a Sirus video anytime soon, currently every time he uses a skill in phase 4 my game freezes for a second.
Awakener 8 Drox
Awakener 8 Baran
Awakener 8 Al-Hezmin
Tanking Delve Darkness
My Build Information
Gear at time of writing:
Account/Character Name: BlastingMouz -> EmperorMouz
Please note that one of the cluster jewels is edited to reflect the flask effect from spiked concoction and the timeless jewel is modified to reflect it's effects on my tree.
Current currency in gear: ~140ex
Current Mana Regen: 11k
Feel free to ask question here or through Discord @BlastingMouz#1844.
Last edited by BlastingMouz on Apr 24, 2020, 10:43:12 PM
Last bumped on May 4, 2020, 2:02:29 PM
on Apr 24, 2020, 7:24:09 PM
Thanks for publishing the build BlastingMouz! I'm going to mess around with my pathfinder and see what sort of numbers I can replicate from your guide.
Do you think you would change much in the build if you used spark instead of Arc as a main source of damage?
G3 Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/goodguygaming
Check out the CHAD Zerker build: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/2478633
on Apr 24, 2020, 8:09:30 PM
If your thinking of using spark, I would invest more heavily into cast speed and getting an additonal jewel socket. If you drop one of the fevered minds and grab an additional jewel for two Hazardous Reseach jewels. Getting more mana cost will help to off set the damage lost by dropping a Fevered Mind along with make your damage more consistant.
For gem links I would probably go Spark - Archmage - Controlled Desctruction - Faster Projectiles - Fork/Pierce - Spell Echo.
Overall spark should have great clear (probably better than arc), but you'll want to have an alternative 6-link to kill bosses like Shaper, Uber Elder, and Sirus.
on Apr 24, 2020, 8:46:48 PM
Cool build idea!!!
on Apr 24, 2020, 9:25:03 PM
This is a cool build idea. I'll have to try it out. Very ethical of you to not abuse the duration skills. I'll message you directly daily for build help from now on.
Last edited by IkeIII on Apr 24, 2020, 10:44:08 PM
on Apr 24, 2020, 10:29:05 PM
Hey mate! I enjoyed your guide and I'm trying to replicate it now. Just want question, maybe I missed something but I can't find out how you deal with bleeding, there's no anti-bleeding flask and you don't pick the ascendancy. Could you please solve my doubt here? :P
Last edited by Darkblade97 on Apr 28, 2020, 4:53:15 PM
on Apr 28, 2020, 4:52:28 PM
"He has it on the linked watcher's eye but replicating a 3-mod watcher's eye might be hard.
on Apr 28, 2020, 6:06:30 PM
Yeah but thats while affected by Malevolence, and the only auras he can run are Wrath and low level clarity :)
on Apr 29, 2020, 9:13:15 AM
Hey sorry for the slow reply, since the build has so much life recovery I dont pick up any bleed removal. The most convenient spot to grab removal will be on a flask, so put it as a suffix on your fifth flask or on your mana flask if your using a unique flask as a 5th.
on May 4, 2020, 2:02:29 PM