[3.17] ⚡Velyna's Storm Brand Guardian⚡ Leaguestart | Fast smooth mapper and Hidden / Feared Viable

3.17 Updates

No nerfs detected, build should be great for this patch.

Tons of damage and the ability to hit while moving make brands a strong build choice. This guide finishes as LowLife but can be started at any budget or even in a fresh league. Easily capable of all content with modest investment and it just gets better from there, this build is perfect for upgrading slowly over the course of a league to hit insane numbers.

Latest PoB updates + Help: https://discord.gg/velyna

Path of Building: Leaguestart | LowLife Transition | Literal God

Twitch Stream: https://www.twitch.tv/Velyna

Build Video: https://www.youtube.com/velyna

Other Builds: https://www.pathofexile.com/forum/2688095

1. Introduction

1.1. Why brands?

Brands offer a highly mobile and therefore very safe playstyle, it's basically like a little totem that sticks to things and can't be killed. Along with the changes in 3.11 and addition of Swiftbrand support, storm brand had its damage increased and I'm enjoying the more active playstyle. It's also a fantastic levelling skill.

1.2. Pros/Cons
  • Smooth levelling: We use storm brand all the way through into endgame and the power curve feels great. In addition to being strong, it's an insanely fast skill for levelling with its drop and go playstyle.
  • Big scaling: We have tons of options to boost DPS, with all the aura's we run and the ability to scale them our potential is massive. This is a fantastic build to work on over time.
  • Safety: The playstyle of brands offers superior mobility compared to most other skills. We can spend our time focusing on staying alive.

  • Ramping: This build can take some investment to comfortably steamroll high tier maps, and may have low boss dps when starting out. Can end up being expensive, as many LowLife builds are. Will feel fantastic with the investment though.
  • Not immortal: We don't have fortify or a massive health pool, you need to use your mobility well and not take oneshot hits.

1.3. Videos

1.4. HC/SSF/Leaguestart Viable?

This can be leaguestarted in softcore, I have no idea if it's hardcore viable but imagine it is with decent gear.

SSF seems pretty hard and would require some big brain adjustments depending on gear.

1.5. Upgraded PoB

This version is updated faster and has extra features. The PoB links in the guide all use this and there might be differences from the standard one.

Uninstall PoB before installing this or you might get errors.

1.6. FAQ
-Why am I dying in phys reflect maps?-
Wave of conviction deals phys damage and will give issues in reflect maps, you can either swap to frost bomb or remove wave for those maps.

1.7. Thanks
Theorycrafting mastermind and handsome gentleman.

2. Leveling

Leveling Trees

- The trees for new characters can be found in the Leaguestart PoB at bottom left. -

This will show what I used and how I specced while levelling a simulated leaguestart. We go life and armour at first while gathering gear for LL, if you have gear already feel free to skip this section and level however you want. I had a very easy time through the acts following this path.

Act 1





Dont put in the Runebinder node right away, you will lose your flame totem

I use Freeze Pulse until brands.

You can use either 2 wands or a shield for now, but you will need 2 good wands before you take the dual wield nodes later.

Don't level Arcane Surge at all, and only level clarity until you can barely sustain mana.

Sell some blue items unidentified for transmutes to buy gems.

Pick up some BBB BBG BBR 3Links along the way for later.

After doing tidal island and opening the cave you can get Frostblink, Flame Totem and Steelskin in town.

I put Steelskin on my move button so it autocasts as a free defence layer. You might need an Amber Amulet to meet STR requirements for awhile. IF the mana cost is too much stop leveling it or take it off entirely for awhile.

You get Clarity/Vitality after killing Brutus, I wear both if I have the transmutes to buy them. If not just get clarity.

Act 2






You will get Herald of Thunder and Concentrated Effect as quest rewards.

Help Alira.

Brand Recall is optional.

Act 3





Near the end of this act once you have a 4L setup for Storm Brand, test out putting a point in Runebinder and running without flame totem. If its good, you can remove those gems forever we're done with them. If not just remove Runebinder until later.

Do the library quest and buy Swiftbrand, Conductivity, Inspiration, Wrath, and Herald of Ice to start leveling in a weapon swap setup.

Take Harmony of Purpose from first lab.

Act 4-6






After killing Kaom and Daresso you can get Hextouch from the vendor, link it to Herald of Thunder and whatever curse you want to run right now. I recommend Conductivity.

CWDT setup is a nice defence layer, at very least get a stone golem in there for regen and to make use of our next ascend points.

Second lab around level 52, take Radiant Crusade.

Act 7-10






Third lab take Time of Need.

Check the gem setup in Leaguestart PoB once you finish the acts because what we wear may change at that point.

Once you get through the acts make sure to have capped resistances and life on every piece before entering maps.

Make sure your Cast When Damage Taken setup is linked and your curse is being applied.
Last edited by Velyna on Jan 27, 2022, 7:15:56 PM
Last bumped on Jan 27, 2022, 5:22:28 PM

3. Gear

This is a rough breakdown of the upgrade path from early league to endgame bosses, each section will refer to one of the PoBs near top of guide.

Phase 1: Leaguestart

Use Leaguestart PoB

Since this is a LowLife build we have to do a bit of farming early league for the required gear, but we don't want to spend a ton doing it. This first PoB is designed to get you through acts, into maps and early atlas unlock on a budget.

Get used to the brand playstyle and take advantage of its strengths. You don't have to stand next to a mob while dealing damage, so you shouldn't be. Precast brands on things like essence, strongboxes, etc where you know mobs will appear. Run around/between packs not directly at them. And especially don't dash into a pack and THEN start dropping brands, drop first then dash in.

With everything listed above, farming out the LL gear should be easy. I recommend heisting because brands do quite well there and it's fantastic early league money. Just stand to the side and toss brands through doorways as they open it feels very safe. Don't worry if you hit a wall, this isn't a full build just a bridge to LowLife so stay where you feel cozy and farm.

Armour/ES 6L: Theres a divination card set for Holy Chainmail so bases will start to come up pretty quick. I just bought a white chest and rolled for life then used a regal + crafted.

Pure Talent: Pathing through templar start plus the jewels stats give us:

-Life/Life Regen
-Mana/Mana Regen
-5% elemental penetration

Crown of Inward Eye: The "Transfiguration" mods mean that your life/ES nodes also give damage. This helm can be used before and after going LowLife. Very good investment.

Templar Gloves: There are all around solid providing armour/ES/life/resists. Also usable before/after Lowlife and can be upgraded directly later with Elemental Weakness on hit corrupt.

Call of the Brotherhood: Put on one CoTB for now. Having that cold damage helps with chill/freeze and feels very cozy.

Flasks: You want corrupted blood and shock protection ASAP, these slots are flexible but PoB has recommendations. Also freeze protection if you don't have the ascend points for it yet.

----------------------------Before Maps / T1 Maps--------------------------------

-Match the gem setup in Leaguestart PoB, especially the trigger and curse setups.

-75/75/75 elemental resistance, life on every piece and as many armour or armour/ES bases as possible. The helmet slot especially should be a pure armour base, you can put your red CWDT setup here for ease. Chest should be armour/ES.

-Get the stun pantheon in, and whatever other one you want.

-Upgrade life flasks and get instant ones if you can, put on a granite and sulphur with some beneficial stats.

-Check trade for some early DPS boosts like +1 lightning or Spell gem wands and shield, corrupted 5L chest etc.

--------------------------------Early Mapping Goals---------------------------------

-Hit 3.5-4K life.

-For getting a 6L you have 2 options, buying one corrupted that has your colors or waiting for white bases to come up. I bought a base and rolled life then regalled + crafted, worked very well for me.

-Pure Talent jewel gives you 5% elemental penetration and some nice mana regen once your tree touches the Templar start node.

-Get 2 Divine Vessels and upgrade Brine King for freeze immune.

-Look for +1 lightning gem wands with one of:

%spell dmg
%lightning dmg
Cast Speed
# added lightning to spells.

If you get a wand with open suffix, you can use it for a trigger wand later.

-Buy one Call of the Brotherhood now and wear it, the second can be bought whenever your ready to go LowLife.

Phase 2: LowLife Requirements

Don't switch to Transition PoB until you gather everything here.

This is a checklist of required items for the LowLife transition, if you have everything shown here it should be super easy. Technically it will function without the large cluster or the watchers eye but I don't recommend pushing far without them since freeze is such a good defense and it's based on DPS. Also make sure your character is at least level 88 and that you have ~40 regret orbs.

Several of these things you already bought in the last phase, the new ones are:

Shavronnes Wrappings: LowLife needs a way to hand chaos damage, we use Shavs and you absolutely need it.

Aegis Aurora: Another requirement. This is a big chunk of defense, even without the block corrupt which you don't need at first.

Presence of Chayula: Stun immune, chaos res, lots of ES. Together with shield and chest these make up the core of many LowLife builds.

Trigger Wand: If you can't get trigger craft yet, put level 1 CWDT + level 1 20% assassins mark in wand. This should work as a crutch until you get trigger but make sure your mana is being sustained. Make sure you get curses running ASAP since its a huge part of your damage.

Belt: Crystal base with ES/Strength/resist and open suffix if you can get it. We need a suffix on either belt or boots for an Aspect later.

Boots: At least ~120ES, Move Speed and resists.

Cluster Jewels: The small is needed to fit all our auras. Both of the nodes on our large cluster are massive DPS gains.

Watchers Eye: %added cold with Hatred is a great option that gives DPS and life, it's also not overly expensive for just that mod.

Flasks: By now you should have quality on flasks and decent rolls for ailment protection etc. You will be going crit now so have a diamond ready, and Atziri's Promise is cheap as well.

Energy from Within: Very easy source of ES.

Thread of Hope: Gives us Glancing Blows and Divine Shield plus a damage node.

Call of the Brotherhood: You should already be wearing one, now we need a second.

Level 88: The transition PoB needs this many points.

40 Regret Orbs: Your entire tree needs to be reworked, and once you get 20% quality assassins mark in a trigger wand you can move ascend points over to profane bloom also.

Phase 3: Transition + Early Upgrades

Use Transition PoB, but look at God version for possible upgrades.

Gems: Make sure you level a set of support gems in weapon swap, so you have something to use after vendor crafting all your main ones for 20% quality once they hit level 20. EXCEPT Swiftbrand, just look to buy Anomalous Swiftbrand and add 20% quality to it.

Helm enchant: 40% increased Storm Brand damage.

Anoint: Doom Cast is big DPS.

Curse on Hit Gloves: With these corrupted gloves and a 20% quality Assassins Mark in the trigger wand, both our curses are now automated.

Wand: Upgrade your wand from the basic trigger one. You don't have to get the exact one shown just try for better than what you have. +1 to All Spell Gems is king because it hits aura's also. Cast speed, Spell Damage, % Lightning damage and +1 Lightning Gems are next priorities.

Watchers Eye: There are several upgrades from the starter %cold watchers, the easiest is Hatred Penetration. We also have a lot of auras that could roll a good secondary mod if you wanted to go for %cold + one of these:

-Clarity: % of Mana Gaines as ES
-Clarity: - Cost of Non Channel Skills
-Discipline: ES gained per hit
-Discipline: Es Regeneration
-Wrath: % increased critical strike chance
-Wrath: % increased lightning damage
-Zealotry: Cast Speed
-Zealotry: Crits penetrate

Catalysts: Start stacking up Turbulent Catalysts on rings, Fertile on amulet, and Tempering on belt. Very easy way to increase offence/defence directly.

Phase 4: Literal God

Use Literal God PoB

Helm: I never even did this, but you could corrupt for either +1 power charge or cold leech (which would save you a point on tree). Crown is a common enchant target so a supply of them should be available.

Gloves: These will free up a suffix from Spider Aspect, plus give
a very nice amount of %damage AND cast speed. Expensive because
you need the curse implicit. Another option here for a more
tanky character would be asenaths. And if you went that route
you could even potentially get +1 curse from amulet and a
corrupted asenaths to stack 3 curses.

Belt: Flat ES/%ES/STR/Armour.

Chest: +2 AoE Gem corrupt adds about 15% more dps.

Shield: Corrupted for more block.

Energy From Within: Easy target for high value corrupt, I prefer CB immune.

Boots: Try to hit either Ele pen or flat lightning enchant.

Watchers Eye: Hatred penetration with Zealotry cast speed/pen is top dps I think. There are so many good mods though it's really whatever you want.

4. Misc

4.1 Ascend
  • Harmony of Purpose
  • Radiant Crusade
  • Time of Need
  • Radiant Faith

Harmony of Purpose is fantastic and should be first always, Radiant Crusade comes second to help us balance resists and give a 10% more multiplier when we have golem out.

4.2 Bandit

Alira gives us 3 things we like a lot so we help her.

4.3 Pantheon

Major: Brine King

Minor: Ralakesh

Last edited by Velyna on Jan 22, 2022, 11:08:28 AM
This may be exactly what I was looking for for a friend of mine. She's only into casters, but wants something tanky and inexpensive.. She rips too much, I was thinking inquisitor but this may fit her better in late game
Rakie1337 wrote:
This may be exactly what I was looking for for a friend of mine. She's only into casters, but wants something tanky and inexpensive.. She rips too much, I was thinking inquisitor but this may fit her better in late game

Brands + guardian makes for a very safe playstyle compared to other casters, I'm playing this as a leaguestart in harvest right now and did Sirus 8 deathless a few days ago. As for price I would say its a medium price tag to get started, and skies the limit for upgrading.
Interested to see what this can do with a bit of investment, DPS seems solid.
Oh man thank you for that, I was really wanting to play a Guardian for some reason but I all builds I could find were either aurabots or heralds.
Pretty shitty drops this league despite sinking over 200 hours only got a single ex so I'm pretty scared of LL but let's do this.
Im fallowing your build on console. I have to say im having a real blast so far. Iv never played guardian. Thx for posting this build.
Im fallowing your build on console. I have to say im having a real blast so far. Iv never played guardian. Thx for posting this build.
werchiel wrote:
Oh man thank you for that, I was really wanting to play a Guardian for some reason but I all builds I could find were either aurabots or heralds.
Pretty shitty drops this league despite sinking over 200 hours only got a single ex so I'm pretty scared of LL but let's do this.

LowLife can be expensive and/or intimidating for sure, working on some changes to the guide that should help with the process of transitioning into LL and gearing up.

A linked shavs is the main expensive thing at first, every other piece in the Midrange PoB should be affordable.

Last edited by Velyna on Jul 7, 2020, 3:59:23 PM
gloryous1987 wrote:
Im fallowing your build on console. I have to say im having a real blast so far. Iv never played guardian. Thx for posting this build.

Nice man glad to hear you're enjoying it!

Report Forum Post

Report Account:

Report Type

Additional Info