This is an outdated guide, kept for historical purposes and to allow people who started using it to continue to do so if they so choose. If you're new, do not use this guide!
Guide Last Updated December 2018 (Betrayal League, Patch 3.5)
This build uses Arc, a Lightning Spell that bounces around between multiple targets and forks off to hit others. Unlike most other builds listed here, this build does not have a source of Leech to automatically restore its health, but it deals heavy damage to potentially enormous numbers of enemies in return. It also applies Storm Brand to bosses, shocking them periodically while it attacks with other spells. Later on, it will combine Arc with Lightning Tendrils, dealing heavy damage and combining wide area coverage with bouncing lightning bolts. An excellent trash-clearing build, but may have trouble sustaining on long boss fights.
This build is a ranged Spell caster.
Inquisitor is one of the Templar Ascendancy subclasses. When you create your character, you'll create a Templar; you'll choose to be an Inquisitor later.
If you want to explore this build's stats, links, and Passive Tree interactively, head over to the Links page and download Path of Building. Then, in Path of Building, select Import/Export Build -> Import from Pastebin, and enter this link: https://pastebin.com/GsT5fC7K
Main Skill Basics
Arc deals damage to a target, then Chains to jump to numerous other targets. With each Chain, it also splits, dealing damage to another secondary target, but this split bolt does not chain further. In total, a max-level Arc chains 7 times to hit a total of up to 15 targets. It deals major bonus damage to early targets that falls off as it exhausts its chains.
Arc can strike the same target more than once, but cannot bounce back and forth between two targets - it must have a third to chain to before it can chain back to the first. (Note that this does not match the more common rules for Chain that apply to Projectiles, which cannot hit the same target twice. Arc is not a true Projectile, which is the reason for this unusual behavior around Chaining.)
Arc is a Lightning Spell, and scales with bonuses to Lightning and Spell damage. It is not an Area effect and does not in any way benefit from Area modifiers. Despite being able to Chain, Arc is not a Projectile, and does not benefit from Projectile-based modifiers.
Lightning Tendrils is a channeled skill that repeatedly zaps a cone in the targeted direction for Lightning damage. Every fourth such Zap deals bonus damage.
Lightning Tendrils is a Lightning Area Spell, and scales with modifiers to Lighting, Area, and Spell damage. Increases to Cast Speed make it zap more often, and increases to Area of Effect increase the radius of the cone.
Storm Brand Brand places a marker on the ground that will attach to an enemy when they approach. Once attached, it will zap that enemy and nearby enemies periodically, dealing Lightning damage to them and nearby targets. The enemy to which the Brand is attached takes extra damage.
By default, you're limited to 3 Brands placed and 1 attached to any particular enemy (although more than 1 can attach at a time, just not to the same enemy). This build picks up the Runebinder Keystone Passive, which allows you to attach a second Brand to a single enemy. Each Brand has two duration counters, one for attached time and one for unattached time, and will expire if either runs out.
Storm Brand Brand deals (Area, Lightning, Spell, Brand) Damage, and thus benefits from modifiers to those types of damage. It is not a Projectile and does not benefit from Projectile Damage modifiers. Cast Speed modifiers affect both how quickly you can place the Brand marker and how often it shocks while attached. Modifiers to Skill Effect Duration or to Brand Duration affect how long the marker will last both attached and unattached.
(It's irrelevant to this build for the most part, but there is also a skill called Brand Recall that pulls your Brands to you and triggers their effects at your location. We only use our Brand just for auxiliary damage, so we don't worry about this.)
This section is meant to accompany the main "Act 1" section of the guide.
Early Act 1
You'll start with a club and a melee attack, but you won't be using these past the first zone. Keep an eye out for wands or sceptres as you go.
From Enemy at the Gate, you can pick up Lightning Tendrils, the first of the major skills we'll be using. The Elemental Proliferation Support you picked up on the beach does little for it, but that's all we have for now.
With your first few passive points, work your way towards the following tree:
Once you finish Mercy Mission, you can pick up Arcane Surge Support, which is very much worth using throughout the early game. Spell Cascade Support doesn't work with either of our main skills, so the other choice you have for now is Storm Barrier (which we'll replace soon).
From Breaking Some Eggs, pick up Frost Bomb. Although we won't use this as a main damage skill, the ability to cut down on a monster's regeneration is occasionally useful.
Once you enter the Prison (The Caged Brute), you can pick up Added Lightning Damage Support, which is much better than Storm Barrier and should replace it in a 3-link (if you've gotten a 4-link, you may as well just add it in to the empty socket).
Brutus (The Caged Brute) is likely to be annoying. Your damage isn't fantastic yet and you don't have any great ways of restoring your Life. Don't worry if you die some here; it's to be expected for a new player piloting builds that don't hit their stride before him.
Once you've defeated Brutus, you can pick up Leap Slam. This is a useful movement skill, as long as you're using a Sceptre or a Staff (and not a Wand). We'll discuss movement skills more later on, but you can start using this now if you want. If you're using a wand, grab Flame Dash as an alternative.
Late Act 1
As you go, you'll want to look for a few specific sorts of item:
- 3- and 4-linked items with mostly blue sockets. You can't really make much use of red or green sockets, particularly right now.
- A Wand, Sceptre, or Staff with large bonuses to Spell or Lightning damage. Added damage to spells is also useful, although note that "Adds X-Y <Element> Damage" is a local modifier applied to the weapon and not to you (you want ones that say "...to Spells"). Eventually, we'll use staves, but for now (and for most of the leveling process) we can be flexible as we don't have any Staff-exclusive nodes yet.
- Gear with Life and Resistances. Energy Shield based gear will be most likely to have the blue sockets you're after.
As you continue to gain more Passive Skill Points, work your way towards the following tree. You'll have enough points for all the Passives shown here sometime around Act 3 or 4, at which point you can move on to the full Passive Tree (listed in the "Full Build" section of this guide below). If you don't find a good Staff early on, feel free to skip out on the Staff nodes near the top until you have one.
Once you enter the Cavern of Wrath (The Siren's Cadence), Nessa will offer your Arc, which you should pick up and start leveling now. For right now, and until we combine the two of them in Act 4, you'll want to use Arc for small numbers of enemies (since it gets a large bonus for its first few targets hit) and Lightning Tendrils for larger packs that you can get close to (since it has no built-in target limit).
You can also pick up Storm Brand at this point, also from Nessa. Storm Brand is here mostly as a support damage source against bosses: you'll want to attach a Storm Brand as you engage (two, once you have the Runebinder keystone passive) and reapply it when it wears off.
This is a fragile build with little Life recovery, which means you need to try not to take much damage in the first place. Back off and use Arc against dangerous packs where approaching for Lightning Tendrils is too dangerous, and make sure to keep your Life flasks up to date. In very dangerous situations, you can just run away and try to keep your Brand active.
This section is meant to accompany the main "Act 2" section of the guide.
Early Act 2
If you haven't found a good weapon yet, consider using the vendor recipe listed in the main Act 2 guide to make a pair of +1 to Level of Socketed Lightning Gems sceptres or wands (sadly, this doesn't work with staves). You can stick your Arc in one and your Lightning Tendrils or Storm Brand in the other for an easy damage boost.
For the Deal with the Bandits quest, we will help Alira. The extra Critical Strike Multiplier will help a lot on this crit-centered build, and we can use the Resistance and Mana Regeneration as well.
From Intruders in Black, pick up Herald of Thunder. This brings a minor boost to our damage passively, and every time we kill a Shocked enemy (which we will be frequently, as we will have very high Critical Strike Chance), it produces a rain of lightning bolts in the area. We'll use this throughout the game: it'll speed up our trash clear and help us finish off bosses after killing nearby trash packs.
From Sharp and Cruel, you can pick up one of a few decent Support gems - Controlled Destruction and Faster Casting are both very good options. Concentrated Effect is also an option for your Lightning Tendrils (although it does not work with Arc, which does not deal Area damage, so we won't be using it long-term). I wouldn't recommend Elemental Focus for your main attacks - the extra damage from being able to Shock things and thus trigger your Herald of Lightning is too great to ignore - but it's very good on Storm Brand.
(Note: Controlled Destruction, despite its "100% Reduced Critical Strike Chance" wording, does not stop you from critically striking - it's decreased critical strike chance, not less critical strike chance. See the Mechanics Reference page for more on the details, but in short - this gem is really good for Spell builds even when they emphasize Critical Strike.)
Late Act 2
If your damage feels a little bit low in this section, don't worry - you're in a bit of a lull between major damage gains, and will remain so for a while. You'll start to see your damage pick back up midway through the story, and it'll rise rapidly from there - of all the guided builds, this is one of the more damaging ones, and it scales very well with additional gear.
This section is meant to accompany the main "Act 3" section of the guide.
Early Act 3
Once you've completed Lost in Love, you'll be rewarded with a choice of a few Curses. Despite the fact that we're using pure Lightning Damage, you'll want to go for Assassin's Mark (available from Clarissa after you complete the quest) and not for Conductivity. You can also pick up, and should start using, Wrath, an aura that brings a large boost to your Lightning damage.
Late Act 3
Sever the Right Hand offers nothing you care about.
At this point you should start trying to make sure to use a Sceptre or a Staff to be able to use Leap Slam. Once you start getting Staff-specific bonuses, you'll want to limit yourself to those.
A Fixture of Fate rewards Lightning Penetration Support, which is a decent temporary option for a little while (though our Ascendancy will render it useless by the endgame). You should also consider a Fortify Support on your Leap Slam.
You now have most vendor-available support gems open to you, so consider picking up some of the utility options listed in the full build guide. Charged Dash is a good alternative movement skill, which you can pick up now if you like.
This section is meant to accompany the main "Act 4" section of the guide.
Early Act 4
Your primary Movement skill available in the endgame is Leap Slam, and it's a good idea to get used to using it now. You can also use Charged Dash, which (while less useful for getting out of the way of boss hits) allows you to teleport right past dangerous areas. This is particularly useful in the upcoming Labyrinth.
From Breaking the Seal, you can pick up whichever Golem - you won't use it for long anyhow.
You don't care about the actual rewards from The Eternal Nightmare, but completing it unlocks Cast While Channelling Support, which you should pick up.
Link Lightning Tendrils, Cast While Channelling, Arc, and (if you're using a 4-link) a damage support like Added Lightning Damage. Now you can channel Lightning Tendrils and automatically trigger Arcs in rapid succession (much faster than you could cast it by hand), producing a huge jump in your damage - bosses should die almost twice as quickly as they used to. We'll use this setup for the rest of the game. You can also get your Storm Brand properly set up at this point: Storm Brand - Concentrated Effect - Elemental Focus - Power Charge on Critical. Power Charge on Critical will allow your Brand to generate crit-boosting Power Charges for you on bosses, boosting the damage of your other skills while it zaps the enemy for itself.
If you feel like shopping at this point, Doedre's Tenure gloves are both very cheap and surprisingly great for this build - you care so little about Cast Speed that its reduced-cast-speed downside is almost irrelevant.
By this point you've probably completed the Passive Tree shown above. Here's the full tree, which you should work towards from here on out, adjusting how much damage or life you pursue as you feel your damage or survivability is in need of more help.
The Labyrinth is a good chance to practice avoiding damage in a long fight. You don't have to actually hit with your Lightning Tendrils for your Cast While Channelling effect to activate, so you can still zap Izaro with Arcs from a long range. Brand hit-and-run tactics are also quite viable here, since Izaro often spawns enemies for extra Brand attachments.
Once you've completed the Labyrinth, pick up Righteous Providence. In itself this is a nice damage gain, but we take it mostly because it's the gateway to the extremely powerful Inevitable Judgement. (For more on Ailments, see their page in the Mechanics Reference, particularly the entry on Shock.)
Late Act 4
There's nothing in particular to note for this build in late Act 4 - but you should enjoy the huge damage jump from picking up Cast While Channelling and your Ascendancy. Bosses at this point should be melting very quickly from the combination of Brand shocks and your channelling.
This section is meant to accompany the main "Act 5" section of the guide.
The only major build-specific note for Act 5 is the choice of Unique Jewel from Death to Purity. You don't care about any of these jewels, and can either avoid taking the reward now (and pick it up later when you want to try a different build) or can pick one up to sell to another player for an Orb of Alchemy or so.
At around this point you should start really looking for a good caster Staff with Spell Damage, Lightning Damage, Critical Strike Chance for Spells, Global Critical Strike Multiplier, or + to Level of Socketed [Lightning] Gems. Ideally, you want several of these on the same item.
Part II (Acts 6-10)
Once you complete your second Labyrinth, around the end of Act 7 or the beginning of Act 8, pick up Inevitable Judgement. From here on out, any Lightning Penetration effects are useless - penetrating Resistance is useless if the resistance is entirely ignored, which it will be on most of your hits as your crit chance rises.
Epilogue & Maps
Once you complete your third Labyrinth, sometime early into Maps, pick up Sanctify. It's a decent damage gain in its own right, and the produced Consecrated Ground provides this build a much-needed source of Life recovery.
This build, like most builds that deals damage itself, is afraid of damage-reflection map mods. If a map has "Monsters Reflect X% of Elemental Damage", just don't even try it - you will die, and you will die very quickly, probably on your very first cast. You can get around this to some extent with anti-reflected-damage items, but even then it's high-risk for little reward.
Once you complete your final Labyrinth, late in the endgame, you can pick between two options:
- Pious Path is the defensive option, granting extra Energy Shield and Mana regeneration and making you immune to Ailments. If you take this, you may want to spend your points speccing in to Mind over Matter on the tree and drop your Wrath aura to greatly increase your effective Life.
- Augury of Penitence is a straight damage gain with some marginal defensive use.
In this build, I went for Augury of Penitence, but Pious Path is a defensible choice.
The Full Build
Main Skill Links
Lightning Tendrils - Cast While Channelling - Arc - Added Lightning Damage. In 5- and 6-links, add Increased Critical Strikes and Controlled Destruction. Strictly speaking, Elemental Focus provides more raw damage, but Shock is pretty valuable and this build does enough damage to Shock most things.
Storm Brand - Concentrated Effect - Elemental Focus - Power Charge on Critical. If you get another source of Power Charges, you can drop Power Charge on Crit. In a 5- or 6-link, add in Added Lightning Damage and Controlled Destruction. If you don't want to worry about actively casting Storm Brand, you can use a Cast-When-Damage-Taken setup to apply it at a moderate damage penalty (unusually, you will want to actually level this CWDT gem).
(Beyond the standard ones listed as part of the Act 4 Guide)
Leap Slam - Fortify - Faster Attacks is your movement skill, with the added bonus of keeping the defensive Fortify buff up if you happen to hit anything with it.
Wrath and Herald of Thunder, both unlinked. Alternately, Herald of Thunder can be linked with Curse on Hit and your curse of choice for a nice ability to apply curses to bosses at no effort (as long as there's something in the room to kill). Alternately alternately, you can drop Wrath and actually link Herald of Thunder up to damage supports for faster trash clear (but weaker bossing).
Assassin's Mark is the clear offensive option, and Enfeeble is the clear defensive one.
Your weapon should be a caster Staff with some mix of Spell Damage, Lightning Damage, Critical Strike Chance for Spells, Global Critical Strike Multiplier, or + to Level of Socketed Gems. Note that Cast Speed is generally not very useful to this build - your Cast While Channelling triggers at a fixed interval not affected by Cast Speed, so it won't affect your Arc damage.
Your armour should focus on Life and Resistances, as usual - Resistances enough for cap, then all the Life you can get. Armour or Energy Shield are secondary to these. You may want to use Energy Shield equipment, since it's more likely to have your desired blue sockets, but you'll typically end up sticking your spells in a weapon with +Levels anyway.
Your jewellery should focus on Life and Resistances as well, at least at first, but you can also pick up a lot of damage here (particularly in the amulet slot) by finding jewellery with Increased Lightning Damage, Critical Strike Chance, or Critical Strike Multiplier.
Notable Uniques include:
- Doedre's Tenure or the upgraded version Doedre's Malevolence (gloves that provide large damage boosts at the cost of reduced cast speed, which you mostly don't care about)
- Agnerod West or Agnerod South (both of which are just solid generic staves for Lightning users)
- Inpulsa's Broken Heart (an expensive high-end chestpiece that will enormously boost clear speed by causing shocked enemies to explode when killed)