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Storm Brand Hierophant build - Odealo's Crafty Guide

Storm Brand Hierophant build - Odealo's Crafty Guide

Powerful build based on one of the Brand spells - the Storm Brand

Storm Brand
Shocking Hierophant Build

Updated for Patch 3.11

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Guide notes
July 22, 2020
-Updated for Patch 3.11


Storm Brand is one of the skills added in Patch 3.5 and Betrayal League, which brought around completely new playstyle. Brands are an attachable spell, which damages nearby enemies at a very high frequency shooting from enemies they are attached to. Brands deal massive AoE damage and attach themselves to another nearby enemy after the first one is killed. Brand Recall is another core Spell for this playstyle, that allows you to summon all summoned Brands to your position, automatically attaching them to nearby monsters. This build also utilizes the newly added Archmage Support Gems which is the single best Support Gem in-terms of DPS for builds with high Mana Pool, and the Arcane Cloak which is a very potent Guard Spell, offering massive defensive utility based on the amount of Mana Consumed. Since this build is based on Brands and high Mana, Hierophant is the perfect Ascendacy Class for it. At the same time, Sign of Purpose Ascendancy Passive increases Damage taken by enemies for 10% per Brand attached, so with a maximum of 5 Brands with this build, making it a terrific DPS boost.

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1. Gameplay

This is probably one of the most satisfying builds for clearing Maps. After casting 5 Brands at the beginning of the Map you are running around recalling them all to you, and Brands will be attached to nearby enemies automatically, shooting Lightning Bolts all over the screen. You also get one of the most potent Guard Spells - Arcane Cloak, which grants a very strong shield and high Added Lightning Damage. Thanks to the new Support - Second Wind, you get extra uses on Brand Recall and Flame Dash, making this build much faster and much more convenient to play.

0:08 Tier 16 Shrine with Drox Stronghold
0:48 Tier 16 Underground River
1:33 Tier 14 Belfry
2:20 Tier 15 Bazaar
2:37 Tier 15 Coral Ruins

This video was recorded on a level 88 Hierophant. In this build, Inpulsa's Broken Heart and random Rares were used which offered 4,000 Maximum Life and around 2,000,000 Shaper DPS with all the buffs. This video was recorded in Patch 3.10, but the gameplay hasn't changed since

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2. Build's PROS & CONS

  • amazing AoE with lightning projectiles fired all over the screen
  • very fast clear speed
  • high defense thanks to Mind Over Matter Passive and Arcane Cloak
  • great damage even on budget equipment
  • reliant on Items that increase your Mana
  • vulnerable to Elemental Reflect Map Mods


3. Leveling tips

For leveling, we are going to use Arc before we acquire all nodes on the Passive Skill Tree that let us use at least three Storm Brands at once. All Supported Gems that will be linked to Arc are also being used in the endgame version of the build. You should buy Storm Brand at level 12 and socket in a free slot in your gear, so it will be ready to use at 33 skill points invested into the Skill Tree.

Suggested leveling Gem setups:

Arc setup
Arc Arc - great Lightning leveling spell, recommended until you can switch to 3+ Brands setup
Added Lightning Damage Support Added Lightning Damage Support - adds a lot of Lightning Damage 
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support - allows you to cast Arc much more frequently
Lightning Spire Trap setup
Lightning Spire Trap Lightning Spire Trap - it's your single target skill, that will be also used in endgame build with all linked gems. Get it as soon as you hit level 28
Faster Casting Support Faster Casting Support - definitely the best gem for Trap. While it might not be noticeable in Path of Building or tooltip DPS, it is highest Damage boost, because it increases Lightning Strikes frequency
Trap and Mine Damage Support Trap and Mine Damage Support - increases Trap Damage by a lot
Utility Gems
Ice Golem Summon Ice Golem - the recommended Golem for this build which increases your Critical Strike Chance
Assassin's Mark Conductivity - perfect Curse for our build because it lowers Lightning Resistance of cursed enemies
Herald of Thunder Herald of Thunder - very good leveling Aura, that will grant additional Lightning Damage and strikes nearby enemies with Lightning Bolts
Flame Dash setup
Flame Dash Flame Dash - recommended mobility Spell
Assassin's Mark Faster Casting - increased casting and movement speed of Flame Dash


We recommend helping Alira for increased Critical Strike Multiplier and Elemental Resistances

Leveling Skill Trees:

32 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Runebinder 2) Light of Divinity 3) Amplify 4) Arcane Potency

60 Points Skill Tree
Priorities: 1) Shaman's Dominion 2) Cruel Preparation 3) Prodigal Perfection 4) Lightning Walker 

Recommended leveling items:

Malachai's Simula Malachai's Simula - great leveling Helmet for Lightning Builds. If you wear it then you should not use any Aura for leveling
(15-30)% increased Spell Damage
+20 to Strength
(20-30)% increased Lightning Damage
+10% to Lightning Resistance
Blood Magic
Maligaro's VirtuosityMaligaro's Virtuosity - powerful gloves, will make our Critical Strikes hit a lot stronger
+(20-30) to Dexterity
5% increased Attack Speed
50% increased Global Critical Strike Chance
(60-80)% increased Evasion Rating
Stone of LazhwarStone of Lazhwar - grants a lot of Chance to Block Spell Damage and Cast Speed, which increases both Arc and Lightning Spire Trap Damage
(12-15)% Chance to Block Spell Damage
(10-15)% increased Cast Speed
+(30-50) to maximum Mana
Le Heup of AllLe Heup of All - perfect choice for the whole leveling process, it's recommended to use it on both ring slots
(10-30)% increased Damage
+(10-30) to all Attributes
(10-30)% increased Rarity of Items found
+(10-30)% to all Elemental Resistances
Axiom PerpetuumAxiom Perpetuum - best leveling weapon in the game for spellcasters. A lot of Additional Damage to Spells and an insane amount of Critical Strike Chance for them. It's recommended to dual-wield them
(4-6)% increased Cast Speed
(100-140)% increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells
Adds (2-3) to (5-6) Fire Damage to Spells
Adds (2-3) to (5-6) Cold Damage to Spells
Adds 1 to (10-12) Lightning Damage to Spells


4. Final Skill Tree, Ascendancy Points, and Pantheon

Final Skill Tree:

116 Points Final Skill Tree
116 Points Path of Building(PoB) link

Ascendancy points:

Preferably in that order:

  1. Sign of Purpose
  2. Illuminated Devotion
  3. Divine Guidance
  4. Conviction of Power


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%

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] Storm Brand setup
Storm Brand Storm Brand - your main skill for clearing Maps and dealing AoE Damage. It's works best against bigger packs, but also offers high sustained single-target damage
Archmage Support Archmage Support - adds a lot of Lightning Damage based on the amount of Mana Spent to Cast Support Spells. It's the single-best DPS Support Gem in the game
Arcane Surge Arcane Surge Support - grants very high bonus Spells Damage, Mana Regeneration Rate, and Cast Speed
Concentrated Effect Support Concentrated Effect Support - increase Area Damage of your Brands by a huge amount, at the expense of slightly decreased AoE
Lightning Penetration Support Lightning Penetration Support - your enemies have lower Resistances versus Storm Brand
Controlled Destruction Support Controlled Destruction Support - huge DPS increase that comes at the cost of slightly reduced Critical Strike Chance
[UTILITY] Brand Recall
Brand Recall Brand Recall - allows you to recall your Brands to your location and make them reattach to closeby enemies. It has a maximum level of 6  so supporting it with Empower yields great results
Empower Support Empower Support - increases the level of all Supported Active Skill Gems
Second Wind Support Second Wind Support - allows you to carry additional use of Brand Recall and reduces its' Cooldown Recovery Speed
[CURSE/UTILITY] Conductivity and Wave of Conviction setup
Conductivity Conductivity - main Curse, which reduces enemies' Lightning Resistance. Will be applies automatically with each Wave of Conviction cast
Curse on Hit Curse on Hit Support - makes Wave of Conviction apply your linked Curse
Wave of Conviction Wave of Conviction - applies your linked Curse and Lightning Exposure on Hit - reducing monsters' Lightning Resistance
Innervate Support Innervate Support - makes Wave of Conviction deal higher Lightning Damage to make sure it applies the right type of Exposure, as well as, occassionaly grants you a buff that increases your Lightning Damage
[AURA] Wrath
(Socketed in Essence Worm only)
Wrath Wrath - increases Lightning Damage. Socket it only in Essence Worm if you have it
[UTILITY] Clarity
Clarity Clarity - use a level 1 Clarity if you have the recommended Watcher's Eye for it. It increases your Mana Regeneration Rate
[UTILITY] Lightning Golem
Cast when Damage Taken Support Cast when Damage Taken Support - will auto-cast your Golem after you take a certain amount of damage
Summon Lightning Golem Summon Lightning Golem - increases your Attack and Cast Speed while active
[UTILITY] Arcane Cloak and Vaal RF
Arcane Cloak Arcane Cloak - the recommended Guard Spell used in this build. It grants very strong shield that absorbs damage and adds extra Lightning Damage based on the Mana Consumed by it
Vaal Righteous Fire Vaal Righteous Fire - increases your Spell Damage for a short duration. Use only the Vaal Skill for this purpose
Increased Duration Support Increased Duration Support
[MOVEMENT] Flame Dash setup
Flame Dash Flame Dash - recommended mobility skill 
Faster Casting Faster Casting Support - increased casting and movement speed of Flame Dash
Second Wind Support Second Wind Support
Portal Portal - creates a Town Portal. It's a great utility Gem that fits the last empty Socket perfectly

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5. Gear Setup

This Storm Brand is one of the cheaper builds, with no required uniques. If you are using Choir of the Storm or The Wise Oak invest the most into Lightning Resistance for higher DPS. Below you will find all the recommended gear. If you would like to have the end-game items also added here please let us know in the comments below. 

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The recommended items from our list will:

  1. Help you cap your Elemental Resistances 
  2. Give you enough DPS and Life to start mapping successfully

Stat priorities on items:

  1. Life
  2. Elemental Resistances
  3. Spell Damage/Lightning Damage
  4. Critical Strike Multiplier
  5. Critical Strike Chance
  6. Cast Speed
Rare Helmet(Helmet) Rare Helmet - this is our best choice for fixing both Elemental Resistances and Dexterity requirements
Min. requirements:
70 maximum Life
45 maximum Mana
20 Dexterity (Crafted)
70% Total Elemental Resistances
Helmet enchantments:
Storm Brand has an 18% chance to Chain additional time
Storm Brand Damage Penetrated 12% of Branded Enemy's Lightning Resistance
Void Battery(Weapon) Void Battery - a great alternative to a high-end wand. Grants a lot of Cast Speed, Spell Damage and Critical Strike Chance. It's recommended to dual-wield it
80% reduced Spell Damage
(10-20)% increased Cast Speed
(50-65)% increased Global Critical Strike Chance
+(40-50) to maximum Mana
+1 to Maximum Power Charges
25% increased Spell Damage per Power Charge
Rare Wand(Weapon) Rare Wand - definitely the best in the slot for this build. If you want maximum DPS, feel free to dual-wield them. Otherwise, use it in your main hand only
Min. requirements:
90% increased Lightning/Spell Damage
Adds min. 45 Lightning Damage to Spells
40% increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells
100 maximum Mana
Optional affixes:
increased Cast Speed
Global Critical Strike Multiplier
increased Lightning Damage
Rare Shield(Shield) Rare Shield - shield will provide a lot of Life and additional Cast Speed and Spell Damage
Min. requirements:
50% increased Spell Damage
80 maximum Life
50 maximum Mana
Optional affixes:
increased Cast Speed
Elemental Resistances
increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells
Inpulsa's Broken Heart(Body Armour) Inpulsa's Broken Heart - all-around best Armour for this build. Increases clear speed thanks to explosions, Damage for all our Spells and effect of Shock which scales your damage up
+(60-80) to maximum Life
(20-50)% increased Damage if you have Shocked an Enemy Recently
(25-40)% increased Effect of Shock
Shocked Enemies you Kill Explode, dealing 5% of
their Maximum Life as Lightning Damage which cannot Shock
Unaffected by Shock
Rare Armour(Body Armour) Rare Body Armour - basically any armour will do, just try to get with the highest Life and Elemental Resistances
Min. requirements:
80 maximum Life
45 maximum Mana
90% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Amulet(Amulet) Rare Amulet - with the stats listed, it will be a great boost for your DPS
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
40 maximum Mana
25% increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Optional affixes:
Attributes (Strenght/Dexterity)
Mana Regeneration Rate
Spell Damage
Choir of the Storm(Amulet) Choir of the Storm - insane amulet for this build. It will immensely increase your DPS and with very high Critical Strike Chance it will shot Lightning Bolts all the time
(10-20)% increased maximum Mana
Critical Strike Chance is increased by Lightning Resistance
50% increased Lightning Damage
Trigger Level 20 Lightning Bolt when you deal a Critical Strike
Atziri's Foible(Amulet) Atziri's Foible - one of the best Amulets you can pick for this build. It's also very cheap compared to the other options, and grants the highest bonus Mana and Mana Regeneration Rate
(20-30)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
+100 to maximum Mana
(16-24)% increased maximum Mana
(80-100)% increased Mana Regeneration Rate
Items and Gems have 25% reduced Attribute Requirements
Recommended Anointments:
Heart of Thunder
Explosive Runes
Static Blows
Essence Worm(Ring) Essence Worm - perfect Ring to socket Warth Aura
Has 1 Socket
+2 to Level of Socketed Aura Gems
Socketed Gems Reserve No Mana
40% increased Mana Reserved
Rare Ring(Ring) Rare Opal Rings - it will fix your Elemental Resistances and increase maximum Life
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
40 maximum Mana
75% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
increased Lightning/Spell Damage
Rare boots(Boots) Rare Boots - get the highest maximum Life and Movement Speed bonuses you can afford
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
50 maximum Mana
50% Total Elemental Resistances
30% increased Movement Speed
Boot enchantment:
16% increased Attack and Cast Speed if you've Killed Recently
Damage Penetrated 10% of Enemy Elemental Resistances if you haven't Killed Recently
Leather Belt(Belt) Rare Belt
Min. requirements:
100 maximum Life
50 maximum Mana
100% Total Elemental Resistances
Stygian Vise(Belt) Rare Stygian Vise - with the same stat as the regular belt. Will grant Abyss socket and allow you to use one more Abyss Jewel
Min. requirements:
80 maximum Life
50 maximum Mana
90% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Damange/Elemental Damage
Gloves(Gloves) Rare Gloves - mainly for defensive stats and extra Mana
Min. requirements:
60 maximum Life
50 maximum Mana
75% Total Elemental Resistances
Optional affixes:
Spell Damage
Voidbringer(Gloves) Voidbringer - a great pair of Gloves if you feel comfortable playing with a lot less defensive bonuses and higher Mana Cost of your Brand Spell
+1 to Level of Socketed Elemental Gems
(125-150)% increased Critical Strike Chance for Spells
(180-250)% increased Energy Shield
(80-40)% increased Mana Cost of Skills
+(15-20) Energy Shield gained on Kill
Cobalt Jewel(Jewels) Rare Jewels - simply get extra Life and DPS bonuses
Recommended affixes:
increased Maximum Life
increased Maximum Mana
increased Spell Damage/Lightning Damage
Optional affixes:
increased Global Critical Strike Multiplier
Small Cluster Jewel(Jewels) Small Cluster Jewel - you should use at least one Small Cluster Jewel in this build (if you are above level 95 you could use two) for two very powerful Passives they provide
Recommended Passives:
Scintillating Ideas
Watcher's Eye(Jewels) Watcher's Eye - it's a great pick for this build, that can greatly increase your Mana Regeneration while you are affected by Clarity (level 1 is enough)
Recommended bonuses:
(20-30)% increased Mana Recovery Rate while affected by Clarity
Damage Penetrates (10-15)% Lightning Resistance while affected by Wrath
(40-60)% increased Lightning Damage while affected by Wrath

The Wise Oak(Flask) The Wise Oak - a great boost for your Lightning Penetration and additional Elemental Resistances

During Flask Effect, 10% reduced Damage taken of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is lowest
During Flask Effect, Damage Penetrates (10-15)% Resistance of each Element for which your Uncapped Elemental Resistance is highest

Vessel of Vinktar(Flask) Vessel of Vinktar - insane Flask. It provides Life Leech, Lightning Penetration and increased Shock Effect on enemies

(80-100)% increased Charges used
Shocks nearby Enemies during Flask effect, causing 10% increased Damage taken
You are Shocked during Flask effect, causing 50% increased Damage taken
Damage Penetrates 10% Lightning Resistance during Flask effect
20% of Lightning Damage Leeched as Life during Flask effect
Suggested Rare Flasks:
  1. Bubbling Hallowed Hybrid Flask of Staunching (immunity to Bleeding)
  2. Experimenter's Diamond Flask of Warding (immunity to Curses)
  3. Ample Quicksilver Flask of Adrenaline (increased Movement Speed)
Vessel of VinktarThe Wise OakHallowed Hybrid FlaskDiamond FlaskQuicksilver Flask

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