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[3.12] Spark Inquisitor with Crackling Lance - New Player Friendly Guide - League Starter

First – go get the current build off of PoB! https://pastebin.com/zSwsKWti Community Fork Sep 16 2020
PoB (regular) is not updated with 3.12 at this time. My builds are on the community fork which HAS been updated.

Also, here is my leveling filter.
https://filterblade.xyz/?profile=Scary3074&saveState=Inq%20Leveling%20Update&platform=pc



But Why Spark Staff Inquisitor?

Spoiler
The build relies on critical strikes and the staff to assist in getting to 75/75 block. The build combines the fast clear speed of Spark (excellent in maps like Sewers or delving, not as great on maps like Desert) with the increased benefits from Storm Brand and Orb of Storms. Because the build heavily invests in lightning damage, all three skills benefit from investments in your tree. I am interested in seeing how Crackling Lance can be worked into the build, if at all.

The end build is taken from a player who reached Lvl 100 in Harvest (3.11) league (ManuMP – SpidersGoBRRRR), and I have built a plan to backwards engineer how to get to that level. I’ve only logged 500 hours in this game so I’m no expert at all and I’m sure there’s some optimization to be had. But if I can get through the acts at Lvl 67, which included completing the Merciless Labyrinth at level 64/65 in my first attempt, with only unique passive skill tree gems that are quest rewards. This build was a fresh SSF start that did NOT use harvest crafting at all. I’m no racer so my time for the acts tends to be between 12-14h.


Thoughts for 3.12 / Crackling Lance

Current Crack Lance links:
CL - Spell Echo - Added Cold Damage - Arcane Surge

Spoiler
Assassin's Mark will not work like it did prior to 3.12 and is not something that will benefit the build nearly as much.

Crackling Lance can be purchased in A3 after killing General Gravicious (Sever the Right Hand) and is probably worth exploring at that point.

Watcher's Eye got reworked and will not benefit you as much either.

Lastly Glancing Blows took a nerf so be aware that it affects this build as well. Seems like a lot of collateral damage occurred to this build based on the sins of other ascendancies. It also moved on the ascendency screen so it isn't in line with the very large ring Thread of Hope jewel any longer.

With all of that said, if Crackling Lance is good at point targets, this build will be stronger as a larger weakness gets shored up. My plan is to replace Storm Brand with CL straight and experiment from there to see how to optimize it.

Here is a link to my experimental version of this build to capitalize on Crackling Lance... https://pastebin.com/KcUfb1JV (Community Fork)

Also, this is where I am with how to progress the passive tree. This hasn't been proofed yet so I'm not 100% on the order. To read this, follow the RAINBOW color order by number. Do all 1s, then 2s, etc.


Hot Tips for Leveling (not all Spark specific… but kind of)

Spoiler
The starter skill for templar is Glacial Hammer. You will want to get rid of this relatively quickly so you can switch your weapon to a wand with a shield. The story line awards you Lightning Tendrils pretty early on, which also opens up your ability to purchase Spark. About that time you can also acquire Orb of Storms. I say all of this because you are going to specialize in lightning damage very quickly, so moving towards a wand with flat lightning damage added (via the vendor recipe, Topaz Ring + magic wand + Orb of Alteration) pays off quickly. As a reminder, you can sell a green gem and an iron ring to a vendor for a topaz ring. The added flat damage is what makes up a large part of your ability to get through Act 1 at a reasonable pace. Spark is not great off the bat, so using Orb of Storms then Spark will get the Orb to bolt things each time you use a lightning ability close to your Orb. This dramatically improves your early game damage. When you combine the lightning combos with your movement skill (I start with Frost Blink because I want to escape tough packs early, then move to Flame Dash when it is available), you are able to efficiently move through each zone while killing along the way. Towards the end of Act 1 you can get Storm Brand and it helps your point targets immensely.

Some other tips that I’ve learned watching speed runs include using the armor vendor to look for boots with increased movement speed on them, buying gear that has the correct link colors on them, and vending for resist rings, if needed. Because the skills feel weak from the beginning, I focus more on getting gear with the links I need rather than keeping gear with more desirable stats. I try to focus on getting to maps as quickly as I can so focusing on the links and support gems saves some time. If a white (common) piece of gear has the right links and is towards the required level that the character is at, I tend to use essences to turn them into rares and go from there. This build will want to stock up on Transmutes and Alterations early (around 5 of each), so don’t blow those trying to get better gear early. You will need them to buy skill and support gems as you level. You also want to stock up on Orbs of Chance as much as you can as you will need them for Act 3 gems. The power of this build is in the gems, not the gear. As such, prioritize gems / links / gear stats, in that order. Lastly, body armor slows your movement speed so it is the last item I pick up for my gem links. I run around naked unless I find something with good links and stats that I have to have. You can just keep the armor in your inventory until you need to wear it.

These three skills (Spark, Storm Brand, Orb of Storms) form the cornerstone of the build through the Acts. The Lvl 100 build uses Vaal Righteous Fire to get additional end boss damage, but I put this together with the premise that you will not have access to that skill at all. This build uses ONLY the Vaal side of Righteous Fire if you choose to go that route, which is why I chose to level with a skill that actually assists our build. I have not yet tested / assessed if Orb of Storms is just a flat out better version of Vaal RF for end game content or not. While you are leveling, I basically throw out Orb of Storms and a Storm Brand inside it while I’m moving quickly through a zone. The two will zap most of the things inside it to rack up some XP as you shuffle along. Spark gets a lot better when you run into mobs you want to kill. I use Storm Brand on the tough target in the mob while I’m Sparking inside an Orb of Storms ring. This technique is also my preferred method for bossing. I throw the Orb first, then Storm Brand (causing Orb to trigger), then get as close as I feel comfortable to Shock my point target to get more damage. Again, Spark is better at mobs than single targets, so you will want to rely on Storm Brand / OoS for tough point targets. Using those two skills also lets you focus on the technical moves in a fight to avoid damage.

Holy Flame Totem is in the build because you get it for free and monsters love to attack it rather than you. You can also drop the totem into Orb rings to kill packs as you are running through zones. I really only use it through Act 5, but if it suits your style, then keep it as long as you want. By Act 6 I usually need the slot for a support gem.

Auras:
I use Herald of Ice and Discipline to clear areas. I will switch Discipline to Zealotry for boss fights. The boss will do more damage to you than Disciplines provides but you can recharge faster with Zealotry.


Skills, Links, and Gear to look for (by Act)

I’ve done the hard work, so you don’t have to, on how to best link skills so you change your equipment as few times as possible while amping your damage. Skills in “peach” are gems you can use in that act but are not available for purchase. Skills in “yellow” should be purchased in that Act. Lastly, skills in gray highlight a change in the skill chain so you don’t miss when you should move things around.

Skills

Spoiler
Act 1

Spoiler

I move flame dash into Chain 3 as soon as I get it, but the movement skill is totally a player preference. Storm brand will just suck in Act 1 so I leave it on my second set of gear to acquire XP. You may notice that I acquire 3x Added Lightning Damage early on to add some kick to our three lightning skills. One of those ALDs will move to our XP only gear quickly, so you can skimp there if you want and only get two. Also, do not level up Arcane Surge.


Act 2

Spoiler

ALD on Flame Dash, what? Well, you can throw it on Storm Brand and it will serve you well, but I didn’t want to clutter up this chart with moving things around too much. Herald of Ice is a free gem while you will need to buy the other four. Culling Strike really helps your clear speed on OoS and Pierce on Spark will help you do damage on things that have lightning resist. You need Pierce for late game but not Culling Strike, so you can cut down on purchases here. If you have 2x 4-link pieces of gear (B-B-B-R and B-B-B-G or B-B-B-R) then you are in good shape at this point. Pierce is not critical at this point so I would rather keep a piece of gear with a Red link rather than a Green link for Act 3.


Act 3

Spoiler

Ok, you’re going to want to complete the Library quest in Act 3 to make sure you have all of your skill and support gems. You may notice that the three core skills are now on 4-links, thus the reason Flame Dash and OoS move around. The skills I buy at the Library are Inspiration (x2), Increased Duration, and Pierce.


Act 4

Spoiler

Pay attention to the Cast When Damage Taken skills… keep CWDT on Level 1 and only level Immortal Call / Summon Lightning Golem to Level 3. Lightning Golem is free from the Act but you will need to Library purchase the other two. At the end of the Act you should be able to purchase them from the jewel vender too.


Act 5 / Staff Transition

Spoiler

If you’re feeling frisky, you can change your weapon to a staff around Act 5. I normally switch at the beginning of Act 6, but wanted to highlight what it would look like if you want to change at Act 5. A good staff will boost your DPS greatly due to the flat lightning damage that is common to the weapon type. I wait to make the change so I can have enough passive skill points to get deep into the staff abilities. Spell Echo is a big time gem for Spark so make sure you upgrade that as soon as you can.


Act 6+ / End Game Links

Spoiler

Here is the final tree with the priority of gems. I have checked these against the DPS in PoB for the optimal order. Hopefully you also notice the continuity on how our gear’s links line up with our final build from the get go.


General Notes

Spoiler
You may notice during leveling that you only have three (or four) skills to use. The other two slots are reserved for Vaal Spark and Vaal Righteous Fire. Don’t feel that you need to throw some other skills into those slots because you really won’t want or need them later. Just focus on using the 3 main skills (Spark, Storm Brand, Orb of Storms… and kind of Holy Flame Totem).


Yikes, Path of Building (and the Passive tree)

I built 6 different passive trees to show where you should be at the END of each Labyrinth. The tree labeled “All Skills From Gems” is designed to show you which skills are acquired when using Thread of Hope (since PoB is bugged). There is a Tree that matches with a set of Skills that match a set of Items if you want to understand how things come together. This data was captured from where I was in the game and is not a “theoretical” estimate.

Ascendancies:

1. Sanctuary
2. Pious Path
3. Righteous Providence
4. Inevitable Judgement

Spoiler
Progression should follow Red (1,2,3), Amber (1,2,3), Green (1,2,3) colors first.

After Lab 1


After Lab 2


Note that there is a purple and blue arrow. You need to do the purple arrow line at the end of Act 4 before you kill Innocence in A5 when you get Hazardous Research. At the end of A5, when you kill Utila, you will get the second unique jewel and should prioritize that line around this time.

After Lab 3


Level 75


Final Tree



Gear:

I spent the time (in PoB) to build gear that match with each passive tree to show you what I actually used at that point in time. I’m not going to go into depth on things for below Level 75, but it is there to show you it can be done without uniques.

Spoiler

Level 70+




This can also be read as “budget options.” Get a Call of the Brotherhood ASAP. I really liked Choir of the Storm and you should anoint it with Longshot. Once you get to maps you’ll be hopping around using Flame Dash and shooting a ton of Sparks to kill everything. Scoring a critical strike to get a Level 20 Lightning Bolt just helps that process. The last piece of “priority” gear I would get is a ring with Level 12 Assassin’s Mark on hit. “Curse” rings are getting a nerf in 3.12 so this may not be a priority anymore.

If you get Voidwalker, it is possible to remove Pierce from your Spark chain and replace it with something like Culling Strike. Ultimately, I was underwhelmed by Voidwalker even though it is hyped by several Spark Inquisitor guides I have read. I like Winds of Change (anointed with Word of the Tempest for extra damage) for the projectile speed and damage.

You may (or may not notice) that several of the flasks have a Surgeon’s prefix. That helps us refill flasks during boss fights when we don’t have mobs to get refills.

Gems – I was only able to buy Intuitive Leap, Watcher’s Eye, and Thread of Hope (Hazardous Research, Poacher’s Aim, and Conqueror’s Efficiency are free quest rewards you should use while leveling). Intuitive Leap is probably the most important, followed by Thread of Hope then Watcher’s Eye.

Final Gear Goals



This is the gear stolen straight off of the poe.ninja datamine. Duskdawn is great in this build and I really like Crown of the Inward Eye. If you can get a good enchantment on the Crown that’s a bonus. Unnatural Instinct sounds bananas but was too rich for my blood.


Other Things:

Spoiler
Bandits: I help Alira during leveling for the resistances but will later kill all 3 because you can get some pretty sweet mileage out of the extra points when combined with cluster jewels. There is a recipe to rework the bandits. It’s your choice, but ultimately I go with the extra passive tree points.

Pantheon: I don’t have any real preferences here, but I normally run Soul of Lunaris (sometimes I jump into packs then spark them) and either Soul of Tukohama or Soul of Ralakesh depending on the map or zone. If I think I’m doing more single point / stationary things, I go with Tukohama. Otherwise, Ralakesh.

Anointments: I like Word of the Tempest on my gloves and Longshot on my amulet.



Last edited by Scary3074 on Sep 20, 2020, 1:36:56 PM
Last bumped on Sep 24, 2020, 5:15:40 PM
I am hoping this works, you got a first follower here
This was an attempt to reply to someone but didn't realize I can't just delete my own posts.

There is no useful information in this post.
Last edited by Scary3074 on Sep 15, 2020, 5:25:13 PM
"
BuggyPie wrote:
I am hoping this works, you got a first follower here


Thanks -- sorry you are seeing it in the raw right now as I add the pictures and what not. Feel free to ask away.
I like it.
I'm really new to POE (only played in three leagues so far). How is this for a noobie like me to take on? CL looks like so much fun to play on the little video footage we've seen.
"
eLbotz wrote:
I'm really new to POE (only played in three leagues so far). How is this for a noobie like me to take on? CL looks like so much fun to play on the little video footage we've seen.


Last league was my first. This is 100% doable. If you follow how I set up the links and the passive tree you’ll be totally fine. I do need to refine some parts due to Glancing Blow moving location and to see if it’s still a worthwhile keystone. I still like the life / spell nodes near it so it’s probably fine.

I wrote the guide to “past me” about a week into the game. If you haven’t popped open the spoiler sections with photos I encourage you to do so. It’s made as a handrail to get you to maps.

Due to a large amount of experimenting I didn’t go as deep in Harvest with the build. This version, however, is based on someone who was lvl 100 with large DPS, etc.

My plan for CL is to drop it in where Storm brand currently is.
Last edited by Scary3074 on Sep 16, 2020, 5:45:08 PM
sweet! One thing - I tried copy and pasting your pob tree and it spits up an error.
"
eLbotz wrote:
sweet! One thing - I tried copy and pasting your pob tree and it spits up an error.


Try this -- https://pastebin.com/zSwsKWti
Getting an error when importing in PoB too for the experimental and current version of build as well as the one in the comments, I've checked for updates already, any ideas?

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