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Penance Brand Inquisitor Templar Build

Penance Brand Inquisitor Templar Build

Non-meta build based on the Penance Brand which has a unique way of periodically increasing its Elemental Damage

Penance Brand
Inquisitor Build

Updated for Patch 3.18

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Guide notes
August 29, 2020
-Build created
May 31, 2022
-Updated for patch 3.18
Build overview



Boss DPS:



Penance Brand is one of the Brand Spells which offers a very unique playstyle. It feels as if you were playing a Channelled Brand Spell, which builds up damage and releases AoE explosions after a certain duration. It offers a very unique playstyle while providing decent Area Damage and clear speed and reasonable single-target damage - though dealing with end-game Bosses does feel way too slow for the investments you have to put into this build. We have decided to make this build around Inquisitor Class which offers very high DPS for Crit/Elemental builds, allowing you to entirely ignore Elemental Resistances and use and type of Elemental Damage in this build. Also, some additional utility from Consecrated Ground comes in handy. Overall this is a solid and unique build, but you should acknowledge that you will surely underperform compared to a lot of other builds. If you have decided upon trying out Penance Brand, this is one of the best attempts with the simplest setup for this Skill. It offers solid damage and reasonable defenses, unlike the more popular Glass Cannon Assassin variations.

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1. Gameplay

This Penance Brand Inquisitor is a typical Brand build that gives you a feeling of playing a Channelled Spell. Penance Brand builds up stacks and deals Area Damage with each pulse, exploding when it expires or when the enemy it's attached to dies. The explosion deals massive damage usually clearing your entire screen. In this build, you need to support Penance Brand with Swiftbrand Support which helps it increase the pulse frequency (and how fast the stacks are gained) but, at the same time, it reduces Penance Brand's duration. So in this build, unlike what you might have experienced with other Brand Spells, it's quite important to recast your Brand frequently - even if you use Brand Recall which slightly extends their duration. For the defenses, this build utilizes Life, Energy Shield, and Petrified Blood to protect the lower half of your Life Pool.

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • unique playstyle
  • solid AoE and clear speed
  • reasonable budget
  • multi-layer defenses with a lot of maximum life and energy shield
  • mediocre single-target Damage
  • not recommended for end-game content


3. Leveling tips

Leveling up with Penance Brand is quite easy. It has solid base damage regardless of your equipment, and there is a number of cheap Unique Items that can boost your DPS. Initially, you want to use Ethereal Knives as Penance Brand is not available until level 28. Just like the Brand, Ethereal Knives deal base Physical Damage, so all sources of Physical Added as... will apply to it as well. Just focus on increasing Spell Damage, Life, Mobility, and obviously, some Resistances or you will find it hard to kill Bosses. Below you will find the recommended basic Gem setups for the leveling part. And whether you continue to use EK after you get Penance Brand or not, is up to your personal preference.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Ethereal Knives setup
Ethereal Knives Ethereal Knives - one of the first Spells available in the game. It fires 9 Ethereal Blades in front of you which deal base Physical Damage
Faster Casting Faster Casting Support - increases the Cast Speed
Added Fire Damage Added Fire Damage Support - adds extra Fire Damage based on EK's base Physical Damage
Arcane Surge Arcane Surge Support - increases Spell Damage, Cast Speed, and Mana Regeneration Rate when you spend a certain amount of Mana on a linked Spell. Don't increase its' level too high so that it is triggered with every few casts
Penance Brand setup
Penance Brand Penance Brand - primary Spell used in this build which deals high Area Damage after reaching 20 stages
Swiftbrand Swiftbrand Support - increases activation frequency allowing Penance Brand to build stages faster and explode after a shorter interval
Controlled Destruction Controlled Destruction Support - greatly increases Spell Damage of linked Spells
Inspiration Inspiration Support - reduces Mana Cost and increases Spell Damage and Crit. Chance significantly
Added Fire Damage Added Fire Damage Support
various Gems
Herald of Ash Herald of Ash - grants extra Fire Damage based on your Physical DPS
Hatred Hatred - the best Aura on lower levels. Later on, you can replace it with Wrath for a slightly higher DPS bonus
Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem - increases your Cast Speed which is very useful in this build
Dash Dash - recommended mobility Spell
Clarity Clarity - higher Mana Regeneration Rate


KIlling all Bandits for two additional Passive Points is the best option

Leveling Skill Trees:

30 Points Skill Tree
Start with Brand Damage, Maximum Life, and Runebinder Keystone

67 Points Skill Tree
Allocate Sovereignty, Lightning Mastery for Conversion, then get increased Elemental Damage, Maximum Life, and Brand Damage


Recommended leveling items:

Tasalio's SignTasalio's Sign - a great leveling Ring that adds a ton of flat added Damage to your Spells
+(20-30)% to Cold Resistance
Adds (7-10) to (15-20) Cold Damage to Spells and Attacks
+(200-300) to Evasion Rating
50% chance to Avoid being Chilled
10% chance to Freeze
Adds 40 to 60 Cold Damage against Chilled Enemies
PraxisPraxis - another great leveling Ring that helps with Mana sustain
+(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
LifesprigLifesprig - one of the best leveling Wands which is available as early as level 1. It grants high DPS bonuses and extra Life, Mana, and Life Regeneration
+1 to Level of Socketed Spell Gems
(20-28)% increased Spell Damage
(5-8)% increased Cast Speed
+(15-20) to maximum Life
+(15-20) to maximum Mana
Regenerate (6-8) Life over 1 second when you Cast a Spell
GoldrimGoldrim - the best and the most popular leveling Helmet in Path of Exile which grants very high Elemental 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)
Tabula RasaTabula Rasa - allows you to link any six Gems from the start
Item has no level requirement and Energy Shield (Hidden)
Item has 6 White Sockets and is fully linked (Hidden)

4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

86 Points Final Skill Tree (doesn't include Unique or Cluster Jewels)
118 Points Path of Building (PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

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


Major God: Soul of Solaris: 6% additional Physical Damage Reduction while there is only one nearby Enemy; 20% chance to take 50% less Area Damage from Hits

Minor God: Soul of Gruthkul: 1% additional Physical Damage Reduction for each Hit you've taken Recently up to a maximum of 5%


5. Final Gems links

[DPS] Penance Brand setup
Penance Brand Penance Brand - The primary Spell used in this build. It will deal purely Elemental Damage. It's very flexible since you are going to ignore All Elemental Resistances as an Inquisitor anyway.
Swiftbrand Swiftbrand Support - increases activation frequency of Penance Brand and reduces its' duration, triggering the explosion much faster
Added Fire Damage Added Fire Damage Support - adds Fire Damage sourced from the Physical Damage, which is the type of damage of Penance Brand before conversion
Concentrated Effect Concentrated Effect Support - greatly increases your DPS at the cost of reducing Penance Brand's AoE
Inspiration Support Inspiration Support - increased Elemental Damage, Crit. Chance, and reduces Mana Cost of your Penance Brand
Hypothermia Hypothermia Support - greatly increase Damage you deal to Chilled enemies
[UTILITY] Auras setup
Clarity Clarity - regenerates Mana over Time
Vitality Vitality - regenerates Life over Time
Precision Precision - adds accuracy rating (which is useless here) and increases Critical Strike Chance
Defiance Banner Defiance Banner - is used to increase Armour and reduce Critical Strike Chance for nearby enemies
Arrogance Support Arrogance Support - all linked Spells which normally reserve Mana, Reserve now Life instead
Enlighten Support Enlighten Support - reduces Mana Reservation Cost of linked Spells
[UTILITY] Auras setup
Zealotry Zealotry - another great Spell DPS aura that also creates Consecrated Grounds for Inquisitor's bonuses
Determination Determination -  additional and increased Armour, very important Aura
Petrified Blood Petrified Blood - causes your lower Half of Life Pool to receive a portion of incoming damage as damage over time. It also activates Pain Attunement.
[UTILITY] Flame Dash and Brand Recall setup
Flame Dash Flame Dash - a default movement spell that teleports you over a short distance
Brand Recall Brand Recall - summons all your existing brands back to your location, and grants them more attachment range.
Arcane Surge Arcane Surge Support - Arcan Surge is a buff that grants you more Spell Damage and Mana Regeneration
[UTILITY] Summon Stone Golem setup
Summon Stone Golem Summon Stone Golem - grants you Life Regeneration if it's alive
Cast when Damage Taken Cast when Damage Taken - will automatically summon your Golem whenever you take a certain amount of damage. You need to match this Gem's level with your Golem so that it works together
Lifetap Support Lifetap Support - linked Skills cost Life instead of Mana
[UTILITY] various gems
Sigil of Power Sigil of Power - Creates a zone in which your damage and defenses are improved the more mana you spend while inside of it. it adds Lightning Damage to Spells and makes enemies deal less damage.
Assassin's Mark Assassin's Mark - the most valuable Curse, it increases Critical Strike Chance and Multiplier against Marked enemy
Molten Shell Molten Shell - Mitigates incoming damage from Hits. It's more effective the more Armour you have. Try to get the Anomalous version.
Enhance Support Enhance Support - all linked Skills have increased Gem Quality
[UTILITY] Vaal Righteous Fire
Vaal Righteous Fire Vaal Righteous Fire - it cost you a big chunk of your Life and ES, but grants you a temporary buff for more spell damage.

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6. Gear Setup

There aren't a lot of unique items we can recommend, but bury in mind that you will need a source of corrupted soul let that be a Replica Soul Tether or Glorious Vanity. Some general-purpose uniques like The Brass Dome or Hands of the High Templar might be good, but these heavily rely on the rest of your setup and might require a more specific approach to the build. Rare items are the foundation of this build. As you're a spell caster that deals all types of elemental damage and deals critical strikes, you can often find an item with multiple valuable affixes on all of your gear pieces. As you have Righteous Providence allocated, we also encourage searching for Strength and Intelligence.

Our recommended items will:

  1. Cap your resistances at 75%
  2. Provide you with enough DPS and Life to start mapping

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Elemental Resistances
  2. Maximum Life
  3. Strength and Intelligence
  4. Gem level of Penance Brand
  5. Critical Strike Multiplier
  6. Added and increased Spell Damage
  7. Armour
  8. Critical Strike Chance
  9. Spell Suppression Chance
  10. Chaos Resistance
  11. Maximum Energy Shield
Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - A helmet is a valuable gear piece for spell casters. After getting enough Life, Energy Shield, or Resistances, search for Strength, Intelligence, and some of the more exotic affixes from influenced items. If you have the built-in Hypothermia and Concentrated effect support gems, you can use it as your main damage setup.
Min. requirements:
+60 to Maximum Life
+60% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Socketed Gems are Supported by Concentrated Effect
Socketed Gems are Supported by Hypothermia
+1 to Level of Socketed AoE Gems (crafted)
Crown of the Inward Eye(Helmet) Crown of the Inward Eye - Crown of the Inward Eye will get you a lot of Armour, Maximum Life, Energy Shield, and Damage. It's one of the best helmets to increase your defenses, but it won't help with gathering elemental resistances.
333% increased Armour and Energy Shield
(9-21)% increased maximum Life, Mana and Global Energy Shield
Transfiguration of Soul
Transfiguration of Body
Transfiguration of Mind
Helmet enchantments:
Penance Brand Enhancements
Rare Scepter(Weapon) Rare Wand or Sceptre - Rare Wand is the only viable option. You can get a lot of different affixes on a Wand with either flat added Damage to Spells and Spell Damage, or Spell Damage + % of Physical Damage added as Elemental Damage and so on.
Min. requirements:
80% Increased Spell Damage
+1 to Level of all Physical/Lightning/Spell Skill Gems
Optional affixes:
+1 to Level of all Physical/Lightning/Spell Skill Gems
Elemental Damage
Global Critical Strike Multiplier
increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells
Adds Damage to Spells
Shield(Off-hand) Rare Shield - On a Rare Shield, you should primarily focus on the Life bonus, but if you manage to get a shield with an extra Energy Shield, or some of the offensive modifiers for Critical Strike or Attributes, that's also good.
Min. requirements:
+80 to maximum Life
+50% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Physical Damage as Extra Chaos Damage
Socketed Gems have 30% increased Reservation Efficiency
increased Spell Damage
increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells
The Brass Dome(Body Armour) The Brass Dome - The Brass Dome is a good choice for Body Armour if you desperately need protection against elemental and physical damage. It slightly lowers your Maximum Life as the Strength will have no effect on it.
(350-400)% increased Armour
+(1-5)% to all maximum Elemental Resistances
Strength provides no bonus to Maximum Life
Take no Extra Damage from Critical Strikes
Body Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - Aim for high maximum Life and possibly increased Spell Critical strike Chance on your Rare Body Armour. Preferably use an intelligence or Strength base for a possibility of increased or added corresponding attributes.
Min. requirements:
+90 to Maximum Life
+60% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Gain 10% of Maximum Life as Extra Maximum Energy Shield (crafted)
You can apply an additional Curse
increased maximum Life
+1.5% to Spell Critical Strike Chance
boots(Boots) Rare Boots - On your boots get the highest Maximum Life and Movement Speed bonuses you can afford. It's great to invest in a pair with Elusive on Critical Strike which offers amazing defenses, Tailwind for action speed, or Onslaught on kill.
Min. requirements:
+60 to maximum Life
25% increased Movement Speed
+60% to Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
chance to gain Onslaught for 4 seconds on Kill
You have Tailwind if you have dealt a Critical Strike Recently
chance to gain Elusive on Critical Strike
Cannot be Frozen (crafted)
Rare Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - On your Gloves, you can get more Maximum Life, Elemental Resistances, and increased Cast Speed or Spell Damage. There's also a possibility to get a mod with a chance to Unnerve enemies on hit.
Min. requirements:
80 Maximum Life
80% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Chance to Unnerve enemies on Hit
Spell Damage
increased Global Critical Strike Chance
Hands of the High Templar(Gloves) Hands of the High Templar - Hands of the High Templar grants a lot of basic stats that you will definitely benefit from, but to make them actually useful you will need to corrupt them a couple of times. You can for example get more maximum life or energy shield, cast speed, or a desirable curse on hit if you can apply more than one.
Can be modified while Corrupted
Can have up to 5 Implicit Modifiers while Item has this Modifier
(150-200)% increased Armour and Energy Shield
(7-12)% increased maximum Life
+(20-30)% to Fire and Lightning Resistances
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Belt - Equip yourself with a Belt that grants as much of defensive stats as you can afford. The most important are Maximum Life, Elemental Resistances, Strength, and increased Attributes or ES as the more expensive options.
Min. requirements:
+80 to Maximum Life
+80% to Elemental Resistances
50 Strength
Optional affixes:
Maximum Energy Shield
increased Damage
increased Maximum Life
Replica Soul Tether(Belt) Replica Soul Tether - Replica Soul Tether provides you with a Corrupted Soul Keystone - which is mandatory - and some extra ES sourced from your Maximum Life. It's an obligatory item if you don't plan to use Glorious Vanity.
(15-25)% increased Stun and Block Recovery
+(20-40) to Strength
Gain (4-6)% of Maximum Life as Extra Maximum Energy Shield
Corrupted Soul
amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - The amulet should provide you with Maximum Life, Attributes - mostly Intelligence and Strength, Elemental Resistances, and an increased Gem Level that would affect your Penance Brand.
Min. requirements:
+50 to maximum Life
+40% to Elemental Resistances
Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Optional affixes:
+1 to Level of all Physical/Lightning/Spell Skill Gems
Non-Channelling Skills have -7 to Total Mana Cost (crafted)
Ashes of the Stars(Amulet) Ashes of the Stars - Ashes of the Stars is a very good amulet that suits a vast majority of the builds, as the increased gem level, increased quality, and increased mana reservation efficiency are almost always extremely beneficial.
+(10-16) to all Attributes
(5-10)% increased Experience Gain of Gems
(10-20)% increased Reservation Efficiency of Skills
+1 to Level of all Skill Gems
+(20-30)% to Quality of all Skill Gems
Recommended Anointments:
Ring(Ring) Rare Ring - Rings for the most part are very similar to Amulet. They can grant you a lot of Life, Attributes, and Resistances. If you can apply more than one Curse on a single enemy, you can also seek a curse-on-hit modifier.
Min. requirements:
+60 to maximum Life
+60% to Elemental Resistances
Strength and Intelligence
Optional affixes:
increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Non-channeling Skills have -7 to Total Mana Cost (crafted)
Added Damage to Spells
increased Spell Damage
Cobalt Jewel(Jewel) Rare Jewels - Rare Jewels are where you can fix your Attributes and Resistances. We recommend the modifiers granting you more maximum life, cast speed, critical strike chance, strength, and intelligence.

Recommended affixes:
Maximum Life
Elemental Resistances
Increases Critical Strike Multiplier

Large Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Large Cluster Jewel - We recommend using one or two Large Cluster Jewels with increases to your Elemental Damage or Elemental Resistances, where you can socket additional Small or Medium Cluster Jewels.
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Sadist
1 Added Passive Skill is Doryani's Lesson
1 Added Passive Skill is Prismatic Heart
1 Added Passive Skill is Widespread Destruction
Medium Cluster Jewel(Jewel) Medium Cluster Jewel - Medium Jewels should boost your Brand damage via Brand Loyalty, Remarkable, and Grand Design, or Critical Strikes via Pressure Points and Basics of Pain.
Recommended affixes:
1 Added Passive Skill is Grand Design
1 Added Passive Skill is Brand Loyalty
1 Added Passive Skill is Remarkable
1 Added Passive Skill is Pressure Points
1 Added Passive Skill is Basics of Pain
Glorious Vanity(Jewel) Glorious Vanity - Glorious Vanity is a timeless Jewel that you can socket in your skill tree to transform one of your keystones into a Corrupted Soul. You can do so with the Mind over Matter Keystone. It has to be a Doryani's variant.
Bathed in the blood of (100-8000) sacrificed in the name of Doryani
Passives in radius are Conquered by the Vaal
Watcher's Eye(Jewel) Watcher's Eye - Watcher's Eye can be a very impactful jewel if you manage to get one with modifiers that apply to your Auras. You're using Vitality, Clarity, Precision, Determination, and Zealotry
(4-6)% increased maximum Energy Shield
(4-6)% increased maximum Life
(4-6)% increased maximum Mana
<Two or Three random aura modifiers>
Bottled Faith(Flask) Bottled Faith - The Critical Strike Chance and Consecrated Ground effect can increase your damage.
40% increased Damage
Creates Consecrated Ground on Use
(30-15)% reduced Duration
Consecrated Ground created by this Flask has Tripled Radius
Consecrated Ground created during Effect applies (7-10)% increased Damage taken to Enemies
(100-150)% increased Critical Strike Chance against Enemies on Consecrated Ground during Flask effect
Atziri's Promise(Flask) Atziri's Promise - The best Flask for Damage Conversion builds as you get the extra Added damage twice.
+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

Other suggested Flasks:

  1. Life Flask of Staunching for Bleed removal

  2. Quicksilver Flask with Immunity to Poison during Flask Effect

  3. Basalt Flask  with random ailment removal

Life flaskBottled FaithAtziri's PromiseBasalt FlaskQuicksilver Flask 

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If you have any other build requests please leave that in the comments below. We are always open to suggestions and constructive feedback.

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