[3.13] Crackling Lance Inquisitor (Instruments of Virtue/Zeal) 17 mil DPS budget up to 120 mil DPS
Note: This Guide is a work in progress. My current build for it is no where near its full potential. This guide is here because I have gotten quite a few in game DM's asking about it. I will add to it and update it as necessary.
I started this build as a meme on league start for fun, but eventually I discovered an interesting synergy of Crackling Lance and flat added damage. In Path of Exile there are two very strong ways to get flat added damage. One way is through Archmage and Arcane Cloak as a mana stacking Heirophant, but that's so:
Instead let's opt for something more original... Inquisitor.
This build is able to dish out obscene amounts of damage while also being somewhat tanky. It does slightly suffer from needing 3 key unique items, but the entry level version is still very strong.
Very high damage potential
Easily reach over 9k hybrid life/energy shield
Capped block and spell block
Flexible and potent defensive/offensive options for shields
Fairly inexpensive to get started
Is basically Goku
Cannot run any reflect map (not Uber Atziri viable)
Needs an eternal mana flask for no regen maps
Not hardcore viable
Needs a few key unique items (likely not SSF viable)
Very expensive top end crafts
Righteous Providence>Instruments of Virtue>Instruments of Zeal>Inevitable Judgement
Instruments of Zeal
Now most people will see the inquisitor rework and fall in love with the new Pius Path and for good reason. This passive provides a large amount of regen and ailment immunity. People will likely try out Instruments of Zeal and Virtue and immediately dismiss them as options because it feels "clunky." To this I say yes, it IS "clunky" if you rely solely on it for your builds damage.
This is a misconception about Zeal and Virtue. These passives are meant to buff a primary skill conditionally. You can go attack based and skip zeal, using a spell (most likely tempest shield) to periodically buff your melee damage with a free 30% MORE multiplier (a buff I have tried to build around but so far I fear it is not as good as casting) or alternatively you can use an attack to give yourself a 4 second buff to cast speed that gives you, essentially, 75% MORE damage. Damage buff numbers aside, The Zeal passive lasts for 4 seconds and the Virtue buff lasts for 8. Maybe one day I will find a way to make Virtue work but for now we focus on Zeal.
We use Zeal as a reliable damage buff when bossing and a nifty little perk that is largely ignored while mapping. It is NOT a buff for you to try and get 100% uptime for. Trying to do this is the reason why people find the passive "clunky." Instead, think of it like you think of Vaal Righteous Fire. A much more reliable Vaal Righteous Fire that gives more damage and has a better uptime.
Instruments of Virtue
This is an interesting passive for casters as it enables unique item crafting options and allows us to access insane value from items like Rebuke of the Vaal and Hyaon's Fury. The reason this is so good has to do with how the Intensify mechanics work with Crackling Lance. Each point of flat added damage is essentially worth a little over 2 and a half times the base value. As a result, flat added damage does crazy things for Crackling Lance.
The local added damage mods on weapons can roll at much higher values than the added spell damage mods can. Couple this with the fact that the weapon's base local damage is added to our spells too and you have a very nifty method of stacking flat added spell damage.
This passive gives us a compelling reason to stack both Strength and Intelligence. There are three core items in this build that double down on this concept. Repentance, Cyclopean Coil, and Astramentis.
I cannot overstate the usefulness of this passive. It allows us to COMPLETELY IGNORE a bosses' resistances. Now this does mean that we cannot bring their resistances into the negatives, but doing that vs bosses is time consuming and expensive. The ability to just flat out ignore resistances also allows us to not care what kind of flat added damage we get. Cold, Fire, Lightning is all treated the same. As a result items like a Double influenced Blizzard Crown can ignore the implicit downside and become a real end game "GG" goal. My helm is still a work in progress but here's an example.
Ignoring resistance is a nice QoL when crafting as it will allow us to ignore elemental penetration curses, exposure, and "nearby enemies have -#% resistance." Once again, I cannot overstate the usefulness of this passive. It alone is reason enough to roll an Inquisitor.
The idea is to grab spell critical strike chance, cast speed and block chance. Be sure to only select Timeless passives that are actually good and do not over do it. Go for the Mind Over Matter jewel slot for more offense so you can pick up Nimbleness or go for the Pain Attunement jewel slot for more defense so you can pick up Quick Recovery.
I have included two PoB's one is a budget set up that will likely cost around 10ex max and the other is a GG setup that is attainable, but will likely cost around 200-400ex depending on your luck. You'll start with a budget and slowly build your way up to comparable GG items.
Budget Passive Tree Level 96 https://pastebin.com/ZPfaThhh
GG Passive Tree Level 100 https://pastebin.com/J5j00MxA
BIS Passive Tree Level 9001 https://pastebin.com/RN2bemqK
Kill all or help Alira.
Minor: Soul of Abberath for burning ground immunity.
Major: Brine King if you don't have Unwavering stance from the tree and also dont have Kaom's Roots. Otherwise you go Solaris for bossing and Lunaris for mapping.
This is our main damage skill. There are four completely essential gems that NEED to be included in our set up. I know Intensify Support doesn't add any DPS to the tooltip, but trust me when I say it is the single best link for the skill. All Gems should be as high level and quality as you can afford.
Essential Skill Links
You should try to get Phantasmal Crackling Lance if possible and Awakened Controlled Destruction/Spell Echo. If you are having trouble hitting a comfortable level of critical strike chance you can drop Controlled Destruction for another situational/optional link. Concentrated Effect is nice and I have never really noticed the AOE difference.
Grab Energy Leech if you don't want to spend the passives to get it from the tree or if your timeless jewel covers it up. Use Hypothermia if you have a high enough base damage to chill bosses consistently. Use Awakened Added Lightning Damage for all other situations (do not use regular Added Lightning Damage ever). If you have mana issues (can be a real problem while leveling) swap out controlled destruction or added lightning damage for inspiration.
This skill will be bound to left click to try to keep the uptime as high as possible. Make sure your Arcane Surge is a low enough level that the mana cost requirements are met on a single Steelskin cast.
This skill is our primary movement ability and the way we build up Fanaticism Charges. It needs Faster Attacks to feel somewhat decent and Fortify is never something to pass up.
Try to get an Enlighten 3 Four-linked with Herald of Ice (or Herald of Ash if you use explode chest), Clarity, and Zealotry. Precision will be unlinked from Enlighten as it is your least expensive aura. If you get an 8-link GG helmet then you can 6-link your auras with Enlighten 4 and an additional lower level Vitality aura.
If you opt into a crafted weapon with trigger a socketed spell you can go Assassin's Mark, Blade Blast, Increased Duration. We use Blade Blast for the "Unnerve" status effect. This effect causes increased spell damage taken.
If you have an Assassin's Mark ring or you don't have a trigger weapon then you can go with this setup to reliably trigger unnerve.
Flame Dash/Vaal Righteous Fire
This is essential utility to cross gaps and get a nice damage boost when killing bosses.
If you are still using Kaom's Roots then you likely also don't have an Assassin's Mark Ring. In this case then you will want to self cast Assassin's Mark and skip Blade Blast. If you do have Assassin's Mark then just self cast Blade Blast.
These Jewels are mostly optional except for the Timeless Jewel. Blue Nightmare will cap our spell block and give a nice amount of damage and some useful power charge generation while mapping. Intuitive Leap is a nice way to save a few passives while leveling. The timeless Jewel is essential as it provides a good enough of EHP for a build very reliant on uniques that dont provide much HP. It also allows us to double dip into HP and ES leech.
Two passives are pretty much essential for your Large Cluster Jewels. Doryani's Lesson and Stormrider. Doryani's Lesson gives us life leech. Be mindful of these passives position on the cluster. Check PoB before you buy one if you don't know how passive positions on Cluster Jewels work. Stormrider gives us power charge generation. Your other Large Cluster will be Practiced Caster and Thaumophage. This Jewel gives us energy leech and a nice boost to cast speed. Large clusters are a nice way to get extra jewels slots while leveling as well. Small Cluster Jewels provide a way to fix your resistances. The most problematic resistance is Chaos, but feel free to put whatever you need here if at all.
The most important mod you can get on your Watcher's Eye is Zealotry: Cast Speed, but most Zealotry mods are fairly useful. Other mods you can shoot for are Clarity: Mana Cost, Precision: Critical Multiplier and even Vitality: Life Recovery Rate in a GG setup if you can.
Triple Critical Multiplier Jewels
These are true GG items. Ideally if you want to meme and hit 100million dps+ you'll want to fill as many free jewel sockets with these as possible. They are very expensive and I only have one right now, because there are more important things to craft. These will replace your Small Cluster, Intuitive Leap and Blue Nightmare eventually. On a budget a double multiplier jewel should be fine.
Flasks are pretty bog standard. You'll want an instant staunching flask, curse immune quicksilver and a diamond flask if you haven't capped your critical strike chance yet. Atziri's is very helpful to mitigate chaos damage a bit and give a good amount of damage. Bottled Faith is great to create large swaths of consecrated ground for regen and is a very big damage boost vs bosses. Cinderswallow Urn is an invaluable method of sustain while mapping and since you will have 100% critical chance, or close to it, you will always ignite and the damage passive will work vs bosses. You'll want an enduring mana flask if you need to run a no regen map.
Your equipment will depend on what your goals are: Defense or damage. This build focuses on max block/spell block glancing blows as a primary defensive mechanic. The big late game pivot for this will be your shield and gloves. I will post budget options in each category below.
These Items are pretty much essential for this build to function. Cyclopean Coil gives us % attributes, life and immunity to ignite and shock (be sure to keep your Strength under your Intelligence) and % increased damage from Dexterity. Repentance provides, essentially, an extra link for our Crackling Lance in Iron Will. Be sure to try and get a spell critical chance, cast speed or +1 frenzy corrupts with a low or no reduced damage roll. Astramentis pumps up our attributes and increases the effectiveness of Iron Will and the Dexterity damage scaling from Cyclopean Coil the extra mana, energy shield and life from Strength and Intelligence is just a nice bonus.
Keep in mind we also get increased critical strike chance from attributes from the Righteous Providence Inquisitor passive too.
Best in slot will be a Triple T1 added elemental damage Carnal Scepter with T1 cast speed and T1 Critical Multiplier and double damage or double damage while focused. Alternatively on a budget you can go Rebuke of the Vaal, but this weapon is difficult to find with a good roll and may be expensive to some. Super budget is Hyaon's Fury, but try to avoid this if you can help it.
We want as much flat added elemental weapon damage as possible to maximize the usefulness of the Battlemage keyword from Instruments of Virtue.
Weapon Crafting Guide
Step 1: Get a Carnal or Void Scepter high item level
Step 2: Use Essence of Wrath, Anger or Hatred until you hit a second T1 elemental roll
Step 3: Harvest lock prefix with 3 or more prefixes
Step 4: If you fail to lock a TI added elemental damage roll then start over
Step 5: Use an essence of the elemental damage other than the one locked in and keep spamming this essence until you hit another high T1 elemental roll
Step 6: Bench craft prefixes cannot be changed
Step 7: Scour
Step 8: Harvest augment caster
Step 9: Harvest remove/add caster until you hit T1-2 cast speed
Step 8: Bench craft "cannot roll caster modifiers"
Step 9: Harvest augment critical
Step 10: Harvest remove/add critical until you hit T1 global critical multi
Step 11: Bench craft your desired suffix from double damage, double damage while focused or trigger a socketed spell
The annoying part is getting the essences. I ended up scuffing my T2 fire damage with remove add fire block caster shooting for T1 fire.
There are two uniques you can go for this build. Light of Lunaris or The Surrender. One is defense focused and the other offense. I have yet to start crafting a best in slot rare shield myself.
Crafted Shield Options
Best in slot offensive shield is a Titanium Spirit Shield with T1 increased spell damage, cast speed flat life and +1 to lightning skill gems with double damage or double damage while focused.
Best in slot Defensive shield is an influenced Transfer-attuned Spirit Shield with T1 flat life, energy shield, attack block chance, % life on block and % energy shield on block.
Best helmet enchantment is cast speed with Crackling Lance. You can either go for an 8-Link Horror crafted Shaper/Elder Blizzard Crown or Crown of the Inward Eye. Alternatively you can go Maw of Conquest for more health recovery and poison immunity and sacrifice a bit of damage.
Best in slot is, of course, an 8-link Essence of Horror Crafted Blizzard Crown with Concentrated Effect, Hypothermia and T1 critical chance to socketed spells with T1 Life and a +1 AOE gem craft.
Helmet Crafting Guide
Step 1: Get a high item level blizzard crown with either Elder or Shaper influence on it.
Step 2: Use an Awakener orb to make it Shaper/Elder influenced
Step 3: Use Essence of Horror to craft until you hit Concentrated Effect level 16-20, whatever you can afford.
Step 4: Remove all modifiers on the item with harvest ideally except for Horror and Concentrated Effect use an Orb of Annulment for untagged modifiers
Step 5: Repeat 3-4 if you fail on an Orb of Annulment
Step 6: Bench craft Cold Resistance
Step 7: Harvest augment cold until you hit Hypothermia Support 16-20, again whatever you can afford. This mod is guaranteed with 2 augments, but you might get lucky and hit it in one
Step 8: Harvest remove caster if you got cold to spells from Step 7
Step 9: Harvest augment life
Step 10: Harvest remove/add life until you hit a reasonable amount of flat life
Step 11: Bench Craft mana on prefix
Step 12: Harvest augment caster
Step 13: Harvest remove add caster until you hit T1 Critical strike to socketed spells
Step 14: Bench craft +1 level of socketed AoE Gems
The annoying part here is obviously the Essence of Horror crafting step and cleaning the other mods. This will likely take you a while and be a currency sink if you are unlucky.
Here is where options come into play. For bases you can go Astral Plate for Resists or Vaal Regalia for more EHP. You can either go Crusader/Redeemer explode and frenzy on hit with T1 life and T1 Strength or you can go Hunter only with T1 life, %Life, spell critical chance and strength. You could even go Hunter/Redeemer with the same as above, but with frenzy on hit as well. All of this is personal taste and how lucky you get. whatever you do you will NEED T1 Strength.
Make sure to bench craft max level Gravicious 10% Life as Energy Shield.
Best in slot for damage is actually a corrupted 50% damage iron fortress, but that's most definitely overkill.
Boot enchantment 70% increased mana regeneration is essential. You'll want Tailwind elusive boots with T1 Strength and freeze/chill immunity. On a budget you can go Kaom's Roots for more life and energy shield, chill, freeze and stun immunity at the cost of 4 gem links.
There is a lot of flexibility here.
Rare crafted rings are best in slot. Your base will be Vermillion and/or Opal. One of your rings will be a Shaper influenced Assassin Mark ring. Try to get enough resistances from your rings to cap your resistances. Try to get T1 or a high life and/or energy shield roll. There are a few other influence mods you can get on your rings, but this is up to you. You could also just use your rings to pump up your attributes if you so chose.
Bench craft -mana cost if you have mana issues
These rings are a nice way to get frenzy charges on hit and provide some scaling from frenzy charges. They can be very expensive and are completely unnecessary for the build to function. The only reason I use mine is because I don't have frenzy on hit for my chest. Frenzy charges are optional in general, but they are a nice damage boost.
Last edited by CainTheEnabler on Mar 17, 2021, 11:45:55 PM
Last bumped on Aug 16, 2021, 6:53:52 PM
on Feb 19, 2021, 9:40:15 PM
RESERVED FOR Q/A and Updates
- Added crafting guides for weapon and helmet as requested
- Added cleaned up PoB links
- Updated a few item links
- Added information on second cluster jewel
- Added a third, very much overkill, PoB warrior passive tree
- Updated Situational gem links to include inspiration
- Leveling and league start guide
- Blazing salvo option for clear
Last edited by CainTheEnabler on Mar 17, 2021, 12:37:09 AM
on Feb 19, 2021, 9:40:43 PM
Edit - Found it but you might consider moving that out into the open ;)
Last edited by D3thcast on Feb 20, 2021, 9:23:20 PM
on Feb 20, 2021, 9:21:52 PM
Hello mate, going to try the build. Any tips on crafting the sceptre?
on Feb 20, 2021, 11:52:20 PM
I would say easiest way would be
Step 1: get a carnal scepter high item level
Step 2: use essence of wrath, anger or hatred till you hit a second T1 ele roll
Step 3: use harvest lock prefix with 3 or more prefixes
Step 4: if you fail then start over
Step 5: use an essence of the elemental damage other than the one locked in and keep spamming this essence till you hit another high tier ele damage
Step 6: clear up your suffixes with harvest
Step 7: aug caster then remove add caster till you hit T1-2 cast speed.
Step 8: metamod "cannot roll caster modifiers"
Step 9: aug crit and remove add crit till T1 global crit multi
Step 10: craft your desired bench craft suffix from double damage, double damage while focused or trigger a socketed spell
The annoying part is getting the essences. I ended up scuffing my T2 fire damage with remove add fire block caster shooting for T1 fire. I'm likely going to start over once I finish my helm.
Last edited by CainTheEnabler on Feb 21, 2021, 12:34:03 AM
on Feb 21, 2021, 12:33:10 AM
I've been wanting to try crackling lance inquis but worried about squishy-ness. You say this isn't HC viable but how often are you dying or getting 1 shot in harder content assuming a reasonable investment and not 100+ex?
Last edited by jackals1234 on Feb 21, 2021, 1:26:39 PM
on Feb 21, 2021, 1:26:08 PM
I'm tanky enough to clear simulacrum to wave 20 without dying. Your results may vary, but if you want to be tankier just grab a shapers touch determination auls and a surrender
on Feb 21, 2021, 1:34:35 PM
Very nice guide, I actually opted to re-roll this Templar after getting bored at level 96 with my poison claw pathfinder.
Since I haven't played for the last 5-6 leagues, I got two questions regarding the Body armor and the boots:
First, how would you go about crafting a Chest like this yourself? An exact step-by-step guide like you posted with the weapon would be amazing!
Second, how would you go about obtaining Boots like the ones you posted here with Tailwind+Elusive?
on Feb 22, 2021, 6:00:03 AM
Well the chest is a matter of taste really. What I did was grab a six link astral plate and spammed t1 life essence till I hit t1 strength. Alternative is spam t1 strength till t1 life. I then used a hunter orb. Then I just cleaned and augmented/remove add as needed. T1 %life was a lucky random augment from the hunter orb. As long as you have t1 crit to spells you should be fine though.
The boots are a different story. Tailwind and strength are both suffixes. There aren't any real ways of targeting these mods together. Might be best to buy a pair of tailwind elusive boots that you can afford with a decent strength and life roll. Just to stick with kaoms root till you can just buy one in my opinion.
on Feb 22, 2021, 1:11:51 PM
Thanks for the advice! I will try to craft my Chest as soon as I hit level 90 or something, since I am still very starved for resistances and cant miss out on the cold res.
My current gear is
Boots with Tailwind and elusive are at 10ex++, and that's not taking into account any strength or life. Its also almost impossible to find a weapon that is "stronger" than my rebuke of the vaal - a self crafted one like yourself would probably do the trick. I actually just noticed that I forgot taking a energy shield leech node as I am apparently retarded.
I actually wonder why I would even need T1 crit on chest, as I am on 100% crit chance like, all the time already - at least in pob. Am I missing something there?
on Feb 23, 2021, 8:52:23 AM