[3.11] TrollErgoSum's ARCANIST BRAND BALL LIGHTNING NECRO | A crazy, cheap, and fun A8 viable build

Welcome, I am BigFingersMcGee a.k.a. TrollErgoSum and this is my ARCANIST BRAND BALL LIGHTNING NECROMANCER. Yes, you read that right.

First a quick TL;DR of the build:
-Use Eye of Innocence amulet to drive multiple CWDT setups to rapidly consume corpses
-Turn those consumed corpses into 200% increased cast speed thanks to the Corpse Pact ascendancy node
-Use this cast speed to push Arcanist Brand trigger rate to crazy heights
-This build has cleared all conquerors, guardians, and Sirus at A8, as well as Elder, Shaper, and Uber Elder

Video Guide including gear/gems/tree and clips of the build in action if that is more your thing.

PoB guide: https://pastebin.com/36HvCgiZ including example trees/gear/gems and a full notes section.

Pros of the build:
-Great clear even without an Inpulsa, amazing clear with one
-Solid single target/bossing without the need for gem swapping or multiple setups
-Actually very cheap to get going with plenty of room to push with investment
-No 6L required
-Easy max attack block/almost max spell block with Glancing Blows
-Over 1000 life recovery per second during combat with an additional >400 life gain on block on top of that
-Cheap, no crazy expensive gear needed to clear up to T16s
-Crazy spells going off all over the place

Cons of the build:
-Crazy spells going off all over the place
-Can occasionally stutter in extreme situations given the large number of hits being generated
-Tough to hit >5k life, the insane life recovery helps a ton but it will feel squishy at times
-One required item not readily available at league start, better suited as a 2nd or 3rd character
-That one required item also has a level 68 requirement, so no using the full build until then

How the build plays:
Unlike a normal brand build. With such a short attached duration there's no use for Brand Recall so you simply fly through the map dropping a fresh brand on each pack. For bosses, just throw down a fresh brand on them every second or two until they melt away. Mechanically it feels very similar to a Spellslinger build but with less clicking and the spells are cast on top of the target instead of from you.

Now that all the surface stuff is out of the way, let's dig deeper into the specifics of the build


Main Damage Dealer - SOCKET IN GLOVES


We will be socketing these into the glove slot where it will also pick up Slower Projectiles and Faster Casting Support, as well as the +1 AREA OF EFFECT GEMS bench craft. And if you're lucky, the 16% more cast speed mod from the Essence of Insanity as well, more on that in the gear section.


CWDT(level 1) + DESECRATE(level 7) + VOLATILE DEAD(level 8) + DETONATE DEAD(level 10) + SPELL CASCADE SUPPORT(level 1)

This setup exisits for the sole purpose of consuming as many corpses in a 5L as we can. Desecrate will only create 10 corpses but we get another 5 from Unearth in another setup. Volatile Dead will consume 9 corpses and Detonate Dead will consume 3. If you do happen to have a 6L at your disposal, then I see three options for the 6th link:

FIRESTORM(level 8) - This would be the choice if your chance to ignite is low and need more to drive the CWDT setups
CULLING STRIKE(level 17) - This would be the choice if your ignite chance is good, you have a nice Conductivity on Hit wand, and you want smoother bossing
BLADE BLAST(level 7) - This would be the choice if your ignite chance is good but you do not have a Conductivity on Hit wand


CWDT(level 1) + UNEARTH(level 8) + CREMATION(level 4) + GREATER MULTIPLE PROJECTILES(level 15)

Here is where we generate the other corpses needed as well as consume a 13th corpse with Cremation. Cremation with GMP also produces a large number of potential ignites, helping to drive the CWDT process faster.

Auras and Buffs - SOCKET IN HELM


Socket these in the helm so they can benefit from the +1 Area of Effect Gems craft. Wrath and Herald of Thunder are obvious choices, Vaal RF gives us a 29% more spell damage boost for 4 seconds, great for pushing DPS against bosses, and Enduring Cry gives us a great boost of healing and Endurance Charges on demand.



Wave of Conviction is used to proc Lightning Exposure and Bone Offering we use to stay alive. There are two options for the 3rd link depending on the rest of your gear:

CONDUCTIVITY - Use this if you do not have a good Conductivity on Hit wand
BLADE BLAST(level 7) - Use this if you DO have a good Conductivity on Hit wand. Recommend keeping this at or below level 7 in case you want to move it into the 6L CWDT setup down the road.



With the high cast speeds obtained with this build, Flame Dash feels like regular Dash but with 4 charges, allows for maximum manual dodging and quick travel through maps.



Eye of Innocence amulet - The cornerstone of the build's mechanics, self damage on ignite drives the CWDT setups. Use 20 Turbulent Catalysts to push the fire damage taken mod to 120, this will make the CWDT setups 20% more efficient. Recommended annointment is Command of Steel which gives 75% increased damage for this build, although if Dexterity is an issue you can annoint Utmost Swiftness.

x 2
Ngamahu's Sign ring - At least one of these rings is required but two is highly recommended, a perfect 30 life gain on ignite roll will completely recover the damage we take from the Eye of Innocence amulet. TWO of these rings will allow the build to actually heal for 30 life every time we ignite an enemy, which can be over 35 times a second. The ring also offers some fire resistance, the flat fire damage to spells we need to be able to ignite, and ignite chance which we need quite a bit of to make the build feel good. Turbulent Catalysts are also recommended here to boost the ignite chance although Fertile Catalysts will work as well.

Shaper influence gloves with SLOWER PROJECTILES and FASTER CASTING SUPPORT - While technically these are not required to make the build function, the difference between having them and not is so night and day they might as well be required. Thankfully the mods are not rare at all and the gloves can be very cheap to trade for. Try to get a pair with enough life and resistances as needed, as well as an open prefix so you can craft +1 Area of Effect gems. If you have currency you want to throw at the build then you can go for the Insanity version of these gloves and get the 16% more cast speed thrown into the mix as well. If you hit Slower Projectiles with an Insanity essence slam then you can deterministicly craft Faster Casting with Harvest. Details on that crafting process below.

That's it for the required gear, ~10c of jewelery and a special pair of gloves. For the rest of the gear:

Body Armor: Inpulsa's Broken Heart recommended, any rare life/res 5L/6L will work. Unlike other builds, the difference between a 5L and a 6L is not a huge damage boost but rather only a bit of quality of life gain, this helps keep the costs of the build down and makes something like Inpulsa MUCH more obtainable.

Belt: Any rare life/resistance Stygian Vise, flat damage is wonderful with the build and a Stygian Vise lets us slap an abyssal jewel in for some nice flat damage.

Boots: Any rare life/resistace/movespeed boots, get yourself some Tailwind too if you're feeling fancy

Weapons: Two rare wands with as much flat lightning damage to spells as you can get, also look for +1 to all/lightning spell gems, Curse with Conductivity on Hit, and % increased lightning damage. One wand will need an open suffix to craft the "Trigger a Socketed Spell when you Use a Skill" mod. Shade of Solaris can also be a great choice for the build.

Helm: Ideally a rare life/resistance helm with the 24% increased Ball Lightning Area of Effect enchant. There is a breakpoint at a total of 90% increased AoE where ball lightning can get in an additional hit against a stationary enemy which is like a ~25% more damage multiplier. Slap a +1 AoE gems craft on this as well if you can, mostly for the 10% increased AoE that comes with it. If you have the currency to spend then you can go for the Crusader "Nearby Enemies have -9% to Lightning Resistance Mod" as well. This mod is VERY easy to craft with Harvest, details below.

Jewels: A Thread of Hope with a Very Large Ring is recommended as it will save 6 points on the passive tree as well as give access to 13% worth of additional life nodes, great bang for the buck. If you want to get a Watcher's Eye then the only mod to look for is "Damage Penetrates % Lightning Resistance while affected by Wrath". For the other jewels, get flat lightning damage abyss jewels with +life. Also look for a regular jewel with % life and knockback chance. The knockback helps to keep enemies away and also will cause them to be pushed back with the Ball Lightning orbs increasing damage output.

Cluster jewels: The Supercharge node is a ton of damage for this build. If you can get a large 8 node cluster with 3 notables, and one of those notables is Supercharge, then go for it regardless of what the other two notables are. For a medium cluster, I like Brand Loyalty and Holy Conquest.

Harvest Crafting S Tier Gloves:
I recommend buying a pair with level 20 Slower Projectiles and any level Faster Cating on the gloves already, get one with an open prefix if you can so you can craft +1 AoE gems. Other than
that, if you want to go for the big daddy S Tier gloves, here's how you do it.

STEP 1) Get a pair of ilvl 84 or higer Shaper influence Fingerless Silk Gloves - if you're going to sink currency into an item, go for the best base.

STEP 2) This is actually the hard part, we need to spam Essence of Insanity on the gloves and hit level 20 Slower Projectiles

STEP 3) Now we need to get two open suffixes, or only one open suffix if you hit the "% chance to Avoid interruption from Stuns while Casting" mod.

STEP 4) Use Harvest crafting to ADD A CASTER MOD, if you get Faster Casting then congrats, you win. Otherwise:

STEP 5) If you got fire/cold dot multi instead, remove them with a remove fire/cold harvest craft. If you got "Socketed Spells deal % crit multi" you can remove this with a remove crit mod craft.

STEP 6) Try STEP 4 again, thankfully Faster Casting has a high weighting and should not be hard to hit. The hardest part will be step 2 and 3.

Harvest Crafting S Tier Helm:
This one is much easier to do, you will probably need a Crusader's Exalted Orb to do it however. A Bone Helmet is the obvious choice but it can be a rare/expensive base to find.

STEP 1) Get an ilvl 85 or higher helm with the 24% Ball Lightning AoE enchant, the item must have no influence or Crusader's influence only. If the helm already has Crusader Influence then skip to STEP 4

STEP 2) Roll the helm with some good life and resistances, no open prefixes, and one open suffix.

STEP 3) SLAM with that Crusader Exalt and hope for "Nearby Enemies have -9% to Lightning Resistance", if you don't get it then:

STEP 4) Hit the helm with high tier life essences or craft normally until you have these three things: A high life roll, lightning resistance, no open prefixes, at least one open suffix.

STEP 5) Since the only remaining Lightning suffix that can be hit is "Nearby Enemies have -9% to Lightning Resistance" all we have to do it Harvest craft with an add lightning mod craft and we're done!


See the PoB file for multiple tree setups as well as some example leveling trees.

Special notes, if you need more AoE to get to the 90% increased AoE threshold discussed earlier then you have easy access to the Amplify and Blast Radius clusters. And if you needmore dexterity then there is easy access to the Practical Application and Agility nodes for 65 additional Dexterity at the cost of 3 skill points.

Commander of Darkness
Corpse Pact
Mistress of Sacrifice

Entirely up to preference, I like Brine King for to help with block recovery and stuns and Gruthkul since we are constantly being 'hit' by the amulet this is pretty much a fixed 5% phys damage reduction.


I have not leveled this build from scratch yet. I converted my VD Spellslinger instead and it was a very easy conversion. I believe leveling with either self cast Unleash Arc/Ball Lightning or a Spellslinger setup of your liking would work just fine. Once I get the time to level this build from scratch I will update this section with some specific leveling tips.

That's it for now, any feedback is appreciated. Pending this survives future patches I plan on keeping it up to date with the times. Feel free to ask any questions, thanks for taking the time to check out my build!
Last bumped on Sep 16, 2020, 1:58:28 AM
EDIT: I figured out my previous question. But now I have a new one :)

Sometimes this build just takes a TON of damage over time. It goes extremely fast, and I usually can't press anything in time. Is that an ignite that goes out of control or what? It is a rather annoying way to die, and I would like to know what it is so I can stop it.

Is it something you can help with?
Last edited by sikker on Jul 14, 2020, 6:32:26 AM
Clarification regarding needing Ball Lightning to least reach 90% increased AoE for more hits. Technically, the end increase will be 50% only because Arcanist Brand reduces AoE of supported skills by 40%?

This is just for computation. Thanks
Last edited by xDeicidium on Jul 13, 2020, 8:15:32 PM
Thx! Wery fast clear build!!!
sikker wrote:
EDIT: I figured out my previous question. But now I have a new one :)

Sometimes this build just takes a TON of damage over time. It goes extremely fast, and I usually can't press anything in time. Is that an ignite that goes out of control or what? It is a rather annoying way to die, and I would like to know what it is so I can stop it.

Is it something you can help with?

I think I might know what this is. My guess is a Bloodline pack or Rare mob with Corrupting Blood.

Since the build hits so many times super quickly you can build up 20 stacks of Corrupted Blood in an instant. The worst part is that if you're doing damage you can easily out-regen this damage...until you stop doing damage and drop like a fly.

Best solution, if this is the case, would be to get a corrupted jewel with the "Corrupted Blood can not be Inflicted on You" implicit, or get bleed immunity on one of your utility flasks.
xDeicidium wrote:
Clarification regarding needing Ball Lightning to least reach 90% increased AoE for more hits. Technically, the end increase will be 50% only because Arcanist Brand reduces AoE of supported skills by 40%?

This is just for computation. Thanks

I'm using the DPS calculator linked in the "Damage Per Second" section of the wiki for Ball Lightning, and assuming it is still accurate.

Using values of:
Increased/Reduced AoE 90% (target for build)
More/Less AoE -40% (from Arcanist Brand)
More/Less projectile speed -30% (from level 20 slower proj)

The calculator gives a DPS Duration per Cast of 1.2 seconds.

Now, since we are casting directly on the target we will only get half of that time, or 0.6 seconds.

Ball Lightning triggers every 0.15 seconds so it would hit at time: 0.00, 0.15, 0.30, 0.45, and 0.60.

Now all of this is a perfect scenario with a non moving target but it does represent a solid breakpoint we can shoot for = 90%. This is the value that gets this build to the 0.6 second target time for that extra hit to trigger before it leaves the range of the target.
Thanks for the great post and video! I've been experimenting with Ball Lightning/Arcanist Brand + Eye of Innocence/CWDT/Corpse Pact myself and noticed it's a great combo.

One idea that I've tried and seems to have a lot of promise is to use one slot with dual Beltimber Blade (or Grelwood Shank) for "free" GMP for all gems and another slot for high damage. Since your main skill is not on your weapons you can just press X as needed to change between clear and single target without switching skills/gems etc.

By the way I'm trying to build without VD because it's causing too much lag on my mediocre laptop. Still have to see if I can hit the Corpse Pact cap just by offerings and maybe cremation.

What are your thoughts on:
1) making use of self-ignite? (e.g. using Mokou's for even more cast speed, Martyr for high fire dmg to spells & chill/freeze immune)
2) going full (up to 97-98% with catalysts) conversion AoF? (for easy 100% ignite by Combustion support, and to use self-ignite fire dmg leech, make better use of Martyr stats) You need another source for LGoH then, e.g. from Vitality + Watcher's Eye
3) using EB+MoM with Fenumus' Spinnerets? less LGoH needed and more EHP
4) using Agnostic + Essence Glutton (without MoM)? more recovery
5) using damage taken gained as life/mana over 4 seconds? (Maw of Conquest, Mindspiral, Battle Rouse) even more recovery

Obviously not all of the above together, but maybe some of them might be good additions / alternatives.

sikker wrote:
Sometimes this build just takes a TON of damage over time. It goes extremely fast, and I usually can't press anything in time. Is that an ignite that goes out of control or what? It is a rather annoying way to die, and I would like to know what it is so I can stop it.

I think I might know what this is. My guess is a Bloodline pack or Rare mob with Corrupting Blood.

Maybe another possibility is a map with reduced maximum resistances and/or being cursed so fire res was lower than intended? You can kill yourself very quickly (but looks like DoT) if LGoH is less than the damage taken from Eye of Innocence. Can avoid that by Loreweave (76%) + stacked fire res.
Matrim61 wrote:
Big post

First, awesome reply, lots of good stuff to discuss here I love it. Going to go in order of stuff you talk about but I've already started my weekend drinking and I'm not going to part-quote everything, lol.

Re: Beltimber blades and weapon swapping.
Absolutely viable, I think the only reason I don't run something like this is that I've just never preferred weapon swapping. But if you could focus solely on beefing up the single target as much as possible then this would be a great choice for keeping the clear at a respectable level.

Re: VD and performance
Definitely going to be a concern for some people. I have a pretty high end PC so it handles it well, even without the MTX (which is much easier on the processor and the eyes). But VD is a HUGE chunk of corpse consumption. Being able to get 9 corpses from a single trigger is going to be hard to compensate for.

Now for the numbery stuff.

1) The Blade Blast Chieftain Eye of Innocence (ab)user I built does use Mokou's to take advantage of self ignite. But that build also gets life recovery from Razor of the Seventh Sun and is unaffected by ignite thanks to ascendancy. I think losing the recovery from a second Ngamahu's Sign is too much to give up for the benefits a Mokou's gives. And with Martyr of Innocence, the stats look so tempting on the weapon but the numbers just aren't there. Unless there's a drastically different way to build then two ok rolled wands will out DPS Martyr.

2) Now we are getting into shaping the build differently to make use of the previously mentioned items. I briefly looked into a build design like this but didn't go too far. There may be something there but I've never been a fan of forcing Vitality+Watchers just to survive, which might be the case for a build along those lines.

3) Rare boots can be so juicy, especially this league. But this is an interesting set-up. I might have to do some testing on this. Maybe even using a Devouring Diadem with this to squeeze out another aura.

4) This definitely will get tested. There might be something here and it's such a simple change if it works. If you don't need the resistances from Commander of Darkness then you won't miss much at all swapping to Essence Glutton anyway.

5) Battle Rouse maybe, but I don't think it's worth giving up the helm slot for the other two.

And lastly, re: the degen stuff.
I don't think it's that. If you're running two 30 life Ngamahu's signs then your fire res would have to dip below 50% to start taking any damage from the amulet and would have to be much, much lower than that to account for a surprising degen RIP.
Cool that you're going into so much detail with the discussion! Making some very good points there. Meanwhile I still have to make the build work well in red maps mainly since I'm not fully respecced from a different build yet and am sitting at only 2.6k life (ugh). Also the damage with 2 Beltimber Blades
isn't enough for clearing red maps, especially because I have no +flat damage from jewels yet.

But I've done some other testing on my end:

Agnostic (without MoM) + Essence Glutton:
Tested only briefly but it worked, LGoI is applied first and the mana pool does not get touched by Eye of Innocence self-damage. It does give even more life recovery I guess, but it didn't help with my more serious problem of being very squishy against spike damage. Might be good in situations where you have no ignites going anymore, e.g. degen from bleed, ground effects etc. after clearing mobs.

EB+MoM with Fenumus' Spinnerets:
Working as additional EHP as I thought, in a fashion. But quite regularly I blow away my entire ES + unreserved Mana (currently only aprox. 1.5k) by self-damage when I hit a pack before Aspect of the Spider is applied, so usually within less than 1 second. Might be improved by more increased AoE (Fenumus' Shroud) or higher frequency by Fenumus' Toxins, but even then not sure if I'd want to rely on it and probably not worth the required investment.
When it's working properly it does give quite a lot of additional EHP, though, and gives you great recovery from ignite even with only 1 Ngamahu's Sign.

So in principle it's great, but I believe the much more powerful and reliable way to do this would be to go for Corrupted Soul (50% fire damage goes to ES and additional ES) and a Watcher's Eye with "Energy Shield gained for each Enemy Hit while affected by Discipline". Then you solve the low EHP problem all while freeing up a ring, e.g. for more damage with EE from Malachai's Artifice (mainly for single target). Unfortunately I don't have the currency to try this yet...
Tried EB+MoM again now after adding Fenumus' Shroud and it works a lot better. I ran a low-tier map quickly for testing and didn't self-destroy my ES even once as far as I could see. When you do take damage from enemies both life + ES are topped back up almost instantly which feels great.

So more AoE seems to help a lot to cover all mobs with webs in time. Guess that makes sense because there are a lot of spells flying around even at the edges of the screen or beyond.

Still think that Corrupted Soul would be better than EB+MoM, but then it could be viable even without the expensive Discipline Watcher's Eye.

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