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Herald of Thunder Auto-Bomber Assassin Build

Herald of Thunder Auto-Bomber Assassin Build

Auto-Bomber is one of the most enjoyable types of build which basically allows you to just run through Maps while everything around you dies

Herald of Thunder
Auto-Bomber Assassin Build

Updated for Patch 3.17

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Guide notes
October 23, 2020
-Build created
March 2, 2022
-Updated for Patch 3.17
Build overview



Boss DPS:



Auto-Bomber is a very specific type of build that utilizes Skills that are either triggered automatically or deal damage Passively. In practice, it should allow you to simply run through Maps without using any skills (obviously you will use some, otherwise you wouldn't be actually playing, would you?) while everything dies around you automatically. The following Herald of Thunder build is currently the best example of such a build that utilizes the Storm Secret Unique Rings that increase the frequency of Herald of Thunder's lightning strikes, and triggers them whenever you Shock an enemy. By increasing Herald of Thunder's damage, you basically can run around and kill most of the enemies with the HoT's Lightning Strikes itself. The mechanic itself is extremely fun to play, and with some investments in gear, you will be able to take down any Boss in the game. Overall, this build is quite expensive, as you need two Storm Secret Rings, and powerful Rare equipment to boost the damage of Herald of Thunder's Lightning strikes significantly - its base damage is rather low, so some investments is to be expected.

As for 3.17, the build still holds the title of being one of the best Herald of Thunder Skills, you can now use The Annihilating Light - a Staff that triples your Elemental Damage. Bury in mind that Herald of Thunder Damage is not affected by Spell Damage, so it's rather hard to find a good weapon. It also uses Crystallised Omniscience Amulet, which in exchange for the stats provided by the basic Attributes grants you Elemental Resistances and Elemental Resistances Penetration instead. The damage of the build comes from Calamitous Visions and Medium Cluster Jewels which can get you Notables such as Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, Dark Messenger, and Empowered Envoy. The build is very fragile, it doesn't have any good defensive layers, and in addition to that, you will be constantly hitting yourself with Storm Secrets.

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1. Gameplay

This is a very fast-paced build which ultimately allows you to run through Maps obliterating everything without having to stop to cast Spells. The core mechanic is based on increasing the frequency of Herald of Thunder's Lightning strikes and creating Storms via Storm Secret Unique Rings. The Ring will also deal a moderate amount of Lightning Damage to your character, which will trigger additional Spells (Wave of Conviction, Shock Nova, Cold Snap) via a low-level Cast when Damage Taken. The Wave of Conviction applies Lightning Exposure, Shock Nova offers additional Shocks to trigger extra Storms, and Cold Snap creates Chilling Ground so that you gain the benefits of Algor Mortis Unique Gloves (it's optional). You also use Storm Brand solid additional damage and tons of Shocks procs, Orb of Storms to apply Curses (and also extra Shocks). All those Lighting Spells combined will trigger a lot of Lightning Damage from Herald of Thunder, dealing massive damage to enemies, but also to yourself. To mitigate it, a very strong defensive combination is used. This build utilizes both Life and Energy Shield (you should have approximately 4,000 of each) and offers both Life and Energy Shield Leech to quickly recover all the damage from Storm Secret Rings and enemy Hits. In order to make this even more efficient, you should use Glorious Vanity Unique Jewel, which should turn Mind over Matter or other Keystone into Corrupted Soul, which will make 50% of non-Chaos Damage bypass Energy Shield, so you should take around even damage to Life and Energy Shield simultaneously, allowing you to Leech both of them at the same time. 

Full gameplay video:


This video was recorded on level 94 Assassin with approx. 1400 Omniscience (~140% Elemental Damage Penetration) and a Headhunter equipped (it's not mandatory, but can truly shine on juicy Tier 16 Maps)

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • one of the most enjoyable playstyles
  • massive damage both AoE and single-target
  • A hybrid build with dual Leech
  • insane clear speed
  • all content viable
  • vulnerable to Elemental Reflect, No Leech, and reduces Max Resistances Map mods
  • requires a number of specific Uniques


3. Leveling tips

For leveling, you should use Storm Brand mainly. It's a fantastic Spell for clearing big packs of enemies, and it's one of the core Spells used in this build later on. You will be using Herald of Thunder as well, however, initially only to boost the damage of your Storm Brand. It still can deal some extra damage but with reduced frequency, it may not be worth focusing on entirely. Though if you have Calamitous Visions and the Lone Messenger, it's quite powerful even on lower levels. 

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Storm Brand setup
Storm Brand Storm Brand - one of the two core Spells used in this build, which performs exceptionally well on lower levels. It deals massive AoE damage and has a very high Hit frequency
Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support - adds a lot of Lightning Damage 
Controlled Destruction Controlled Destruction Support - greatly increases Spell Damage at the cost of reduced Crit. Chance
Inspiration Support Inspiration Support - grants high bonus Elemental Damage, Crit. Chance, and reduces the Mana Cost of linked Spell
Herald of Thunder setup
Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder - core Herald Spell used in this build which hits nearby enemies with Lighting storms. You can either use it purely to add Lightning Damage to your Storm Brand, or add a few Supports and use Calamitous Visions so that it does slightly more damage on its own
Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - greatly increases Elemental Damage of Supported skills but makes them unable to inflict elemental ailments (which Herald of Thunder can't do anyway)
Utility Gems
Orb of Storms Orb of Storms - it's a great addition to this build since it has high base damage, and on higher levels, you will be using it to apply Curses anyway
Conductivity Conductivity - the best Curse for this build. On lower levels, you can simply apply it manually against Bosses and tougher enemies
Clarity Clarity - grants increased Mana Regeneration Rate. It's very useful on lower levels, and you don't have to increase its level at all
Dash Dash - recommended mobility Spell


We recommend killing all the Bandits for two additional Passive Points. You can also help Alira for extra Crit. Multiplier if your level is high enough to pick up all the core Passives and actually benefit from it

Leveling Skill Trees:

30 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Blood Siphon 2) Coldhearted Calculation 3) Blood Drinker 5) Written in Blood

66 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Utmost Intellect (if using Crystallised Omniscience) 2) Heart of Thunder 3) Presage 4) Power Charge Passives

Recommended leveling items:

Storm PrisonStorm Prison - an amazing leveling Wand for Lightning builds. You also get extra Power Charge and Power Charge generation which greatly affects your Crit. Chance
(11-15)% increased Spell Damage
(40-60)% increased Physical Damage
Adds 1 to (35-45) Lightning Damage
(15-25)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+1 to Maximum Power Charges
(25-35)% chance to gain a Power Charge on Kill
PraxisPraxis - it reduces the Mana Cost of all your Skills by a huge amount, allowing you to spam most of your Spells while a lot of your Mana is Reserved by a buffed Herald Spell
+(20-30) to maximum Mana
+(30-60) to maximum Mana
Regenerate (3-6) Mana per second
-(8-4) to Total Mana Cost of Skills
8% of Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit
Le Heup of AllLe Heup of All - perfect choice for the whole leveling process. Adds a fair amount of Attributes, extra Damage, and Resistances
(10-30)% increased Damage
+(10-30) to all Attributes
(10-30)% increased Rarity of Items found
+(10-30)% to all Elemental Resistances
GoldrimGoldrim - the best leveling Helmet in PoE which adds a ton of extra Resistances
+(30-50) to Evasion Rating
10% increased Rarity of Items found
+(30-40)% to all Elemental Resistances
Reflects 4 Physical Damage to Melee Attackers
Level Requirement reduced by 100 (Hidden)
Victario's FlightVictario's Flight - a great leveling pair of Boots that has high bonus Movement Speed and extra Mana Recovery mechanic
+15 to Dexterity
+15 to Intelligence
(100-150)% increased Evasion Rating
15% increased Movement Speed
(5-10)% of Damage taken gained as Mana over 4 seconds when Hit
10% increased Movement Speed for you and nearby Allies
Crystallised OmniscienceCrystallised Omniscience - it can be equipped early on to boost your Damage and get you some Resistances  
+(10-16) to all Attributes
Modifiers to Attributes instead apply to Omniscience
+1% to all Elemental Resistances per 10 Omniscience
Penetrate 1% Elemental Resistances per 10 Omniscience
Attribute Requirements can be satisfied by (15-25)% of Omniscience


4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

77 Points Final Skill Tree (does not include Passives from the Cluster Jewel and Corrupted Soul is not displayed)
118 Points Path of Building(PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Unstable Infusion (if using Storm Prison)
  2. Mistwalker (for Elusive) or Ambush and Assassinate (for damage)
  3. Deadly Infusion
  4. Opportunistic


Major God: Soul of Lunaris 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%; 1% increased Movement Speed for each nearby Enemy, up to 8%. Optionally, you can also pick Soul of the Brine King for some additional Stun resistance

Minor God: Soul of Garukhan +5% chance to Evade Attack Hits if you've taken a Savage Hit Recently


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Herald of Thunder setup
Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder - the core Spell for this build which deals massive damage with Lightning Storms and at a greatly increased frequency
Elemental Focus Support Elemental Focus Support - grants very high bonus Elemental Damage to linked Skills and since Herald of Thunder can't shock anyway, the downside is negligible. It has an Awakened variant with an even higher DPS bonus
Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support - grants high bonus Lightning Damage to your Herald of Thunder hits. You can also use the Awakened version here
Power Charge on Critical Support Power Charge on Critical Support - grants very high bonus Damage per Power Charge and high base bonus Crit. Chance. Since you are an Assassin with 7-9 Power Charges, this is one of the best  Supports for this build
Empower Support Empower Support - increasing the level of the Skill Gem is one of the best ways to make it deal more damage
Increased Critical Damage Support Increased Critical Damage Support - you should increase Critical Strike Damage, but if your Chance to deal Critical Strikes is low, get the Increased Critical Strikes SupportIncreased Critical Strikes Support. You might also need to replace it with Energy Leech Support Energy Leech Support.
[UTILITY] Storm Brand and Flame Dash
Storm Brand Storm Brand - it's used to start the Herald of Thunder and to cause Shock, which is important for the DPS when using Storm Secret Rings
Dash Dash - the best Mobility Skill you can use in this build, however, you can also get FrostblinkFrostblink so that you don't have to rely on Cast when Damage Taken to create Chilling Grounds via Cold Snap, or Flame Dash Flame Dash for when you're not using Algor Mortis.
Arcane Surge Arcane Surge Support - match this Gem's Mana threshold with your Dash/Frostblink Mana cost, and it will grant you extra Spell Damage, Cast Speed, and Mana Regeneration Rate after each cast 
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support
[UTILITY] Triggered Spells
Conductivity Conductivity - reduces monsters' Lightning Resistance and makes them more likely to be Shocked by your Skills. You can swap it for Assassin's MarkAssassin's Mark for comparable damage and additional utilities.
Hextouch Hextouch Support - will allow you to apply two different Curses with Orb of Storms. If you can't afford it, just use a regular version of this Gem with one Curse and Innervate Support for a small bonus Lightning Damage
Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction - use a level 1 Gem in this setup. The Wave of Conviction applies Lightning Exposure which reduces the monsters' Lightning Resistance
Innervate Support Divergent Innervate Support - Divergent Innertvate has a chance to grat you Innervation Buff when you Shock a Unique enemy with a linked skill, it also increases Chance to Shock
Phase Run Phase Run - Keep this one at level 1 too. It increases your Movement Speed, Stealth, and grant you Phasing.
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - use at level 1 for more frequent casts. It will trigger all linked Spells
[UTILITY] Triggered Spells - Golem
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - In this setup, the CwDT Gem should be leveled all the way up to level 20.
Summon Stone Golem Summon Stone Golem - Stone Golem Regenerates your Life and Taunts enemies which is great during boss fights
Meat Shield Support Meat Shield Support - Golem stays close to you, it Taunts more often and is more durable
Elemental Army Support Elemental Army Support - Golem inflicts Exposure on Hit and has higher Elemental Resistances
[UTILITY] Triggered Spells
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - to be kept at level 1
Immortal Call Immortal Call - You take less Damage for a short while, keep this Gem at level 3

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5. Gear Setup

Below you will find the required and recommended equipment for our Herald of Thunder Auto-Bomber. Basically, all you need for this build to work is 1-2 Storm Secret Rings, but all the other recommended Uniques are what make this build not only exceptionally fast and fun to play, but also make it an all-content viable monster. Overall, this build is rather expensive, and it's not recommended to be built on a budget or a League Starter. If you still would love to try it out, you can always visit our Path of Exile Marketplace section where you can find cheap PoE Currency for sale for real money. It should help you out complete this or any other build you want to play.


Stat priorities on items:

  1. Maximum Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Elemental/Lightning Damage
  4. Spell Critical Strike Multiplier
  5. Spell Critical Strike Chance
Rare Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - just aim for the highest Life/Resistances and an extra Power Charge which is one of the few slots where you can increase it
Min. requirements:
60 Maximum Life
60% Total Elemental Resistances
+1 to Maximum Power Charges
Optional affixes:
Nearby enemies have -#% Lightning Resistance
High Energy Shield
Black Sun Crest(Helmet) Black Sun Crest - great when combined with Crystallised Omniscience as it grants a lot of Attributes, but it cannot get you a Maximum Power Charge
+1 to Level of Socketed Gems
(100-150)% increased Armour
40% reduced Light Radius
(5-15)% increased Dexterity
(5-15)% increased Strength
(5-15)% increased Intelligence
Helmet enchantments:
40% increased Herald of Thunder Damage
The Annihilating Light(Weapon) The Annihilating Light - It lowers your Elemental Resistances, but in exchange, it Triples the Elemental Damage of your Skills
+18% Chance to Block Attack Damage while wielding a Staff
(60-70)% reduced Elemental Resistances
Elemental Skills deal Triple Damage
Rare Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - just aim for high Life and Energy Shield combined for this Hybrid build
Min. requirements:
60 Maximum Life
200 Energy Shield
Gain 10% of Maximum Life as Extra Maximum Energy Shield
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Inpulsa's Broken Heart(Body Armour) Inpulsa's Broken Heart - you should switch to this Armour as soon as you can, it increases your Clear Speed and Damage
+(60-80) to maximum Life
(20-50)% increased Damage if you have Shocked an Enemy Recently
(15-25)% increased Effect of Shock
Shocked Enemies you Kill Explode, dealing 5% of
their Life as Lightning Damage which cannot Shock
Unaffected by Shock
Crystallised Omniscience(Amulet) Crystallised Omniscience - as of 3.17, it's the best Amulet to increase your Herald of Thunder's Damage and grant you Elemental Resistances
+(10-16) to all Attributes
Modifiers to Attributes instead apply to Omniscience
+1% to all Elemental Resistances per 10 Omniscience
Penetrate 1% Elemental Resistances per 10 Omniscience
Attribute Requirements can be satisfied by (15-25)% of Omniscience
Recommended Anointments:
Heart of Thunder
Utmost Swiftness
Utmost Might
Storm Secret(Ring) Storm Secret - mandatory Item for this build. It's recommended to use two of these for the optimal effect
+(20-30)% to Lightning Resistance
+(20-30) to Intelligence
(20-30)% increased Lightning Damage
(10-15)% chance to Shock
Herald of Thunder also creates a storm when you Shock an Enemy
Herald of Thunder's Storms Hit Enemies with (30-50)% increased Frequency
Take 250 Lightning Damage when Herald of Thunder Hits an Enemy
Rare Boots(Boots) Rare Boots - again; Life, Energy Shield, and Resistances. You also want at least 25% bonus Movement Speed here
Min. requirements:
70 Maximum Life
100% Total Elemental Resistances
25% Movement Speed
Optional affixes:
High Energy Shield
Boot enchantment:
10% Chance to Dodge Attack Hits if you've taken a Critical Strike Recently
8% chance to Dodge Spell Hits if you've taken Spell Damage Recently
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Belt - preferably a Stygian Vise for an extra Abyss Socket and a lot of Maximum Life
Min. requirements:
90 Maximum Life
60% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Maximum Life
Increased Damage
Algor Mortis(Gloves) Algor Mortis - you can use Cold Snap to create Chilling grounds to Sap enemies and make them receive increased Elemental Damage
+(50-70) to maximum Energy Shield
+(15-20)% to Cold and Lightning Resistances
(20-30)% chance to Sap Enemies in Chilling Areas
Enemies in your Chilling Areas take (25-35)% increased Lightning Damage
(15-20)% increased Effect of Non-Damaging Ailments
Rare Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - It's a good place to look for Attributes and Resistances, focus entirely on these stats
Min. requirements:
60 Maximum Life
100 Attributes
Optional affixes:
Elemental Resistances
Energy Shield
Unnatural Instinct(Jewel) Unnatural Instinct - allows you to benefit from a lot of minor Staff/Herald Passive just above the Witch's starting point without having to connect them to your Tree
Allocated Small Passive Skills in Radius grant nothing
Grants all bonuses of Unallocated Small Passive Skills in Radius
Calamitous Visions(Jewel) Calamitous Visions - a must-have Jewel for this build which greatly increases the effectiveness and damage of your Herald Spells, however, makes you unable to use more than one Herald or any Auras. It has to be socketed in Cluster Socket
Adds Lone Messenger
Lone Messenger effect:
You can only have one Herald
50% more Effect of Herald Buffs on you
100% more Damage with Hits from Herald Skills
50% more Damage Over Time with Herald Skills
Minions from Herald Skills deal 25% more Damage
Your Aura Skills are Disabled
Glorious Vanity(Jewel) Glorious Vanity - a Doryani's version of this Jewel is required to gain the Corrupted Soul Passive which allows you to benefit from two types of Leech simultaneously making it easier to survive all the self-damage from Storm Secret Rings. It needs to convert Mind over Matter or Pain Attunement for that purpose.
Bathed in the blood of (100-8000) sacrificed in the name of Doryani
Passives in radius are Conquered by the Vaal Historic
Intuitive Leap(Jewel) Intuitive Leap - you can use it to gain access to the Notables without spending points on smaller nodes, put it near Infused
Passives in Radius can be Allocated without being connected to your tree
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - simply get extra missing stats, Resistances, Attributes, and DPS bonuses
Recommended affixes:
increased Maximum Life
Critical Strike Multiplier (Global, with Elemental/Lighting Skills)
increased Spell Damage
Large Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Large Cluster Jewel - you should use one Large Cluster Jewel and Doryani's Lesson is a must for the extra Leech it offers
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Doryani's Lesson
1 Added Passive Skill is Storm Drinker
Optional affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Prismatic Heart
1 Added Passive Skill is Overshock
Medium Cluster Jewels(Jewel) Medium Cluster Jewel - you should use two exact same Medium Cluster Jewels with Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and Empowered Envoy Passives for maximum DPS bonus
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
1 Added Passive Skill is Empowered Envoy
1 Added Passive Skill is Dark Messenger
Small Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Small Cluster Jewel - if you have free Passives just pick a small one with Fettle for high Life bonus
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Fettle
Rare Abyss Jewel(Jewel) Rare Abyss Jewel - just aim for extra Life, Crit. Multi and possible some additional Spell Damage
Recommended affixes:
Maximum Life
Critical Strike Multiplier
Added Lightning Damage to Spells

Atziri's Promise(Flask) Atziri's Promise - grants very high bonus Damage and Life Leech which makes it one of the best and most cost-effective Flasks in Path of Exile

+35% to Chaos Resistance
2% of Chaos Damage Leeched as Life during Flask effect
Gain (5-8)% of Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
Gain (5-8)% of Elemental Damage as Extra Chaos Damage during effect
Cinderswallow Urn(Flask) Cinderswallow Urn - grants Onslaught buff and very high Life/Mana/Energy Shield Recovery making it a perfect addition for this Hybrid build
+90 to Maximum Charges
Recharges 5 Charges when you Consume an Ignited corpse
(175-200)% increased Charges per use
Enemies Ignited by you during Flask Effect take (7-10)% increased Damage
Veiled Suffix
<One of the three modifiers>
Suggested Rare Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Divine Life Flask of Staunching for Bleeding Immunity
  2. Experimenter's Diamond Flask with random Ailmet Removal
  3. Ample Quicksilver Flask of Heat with random Ailmet Removal
Atziri's PromiseCinderswallow UrnLife FlaskDiamond FlaskQuicksilver Flask

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Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Grinding Gear Games.

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